The Asia Pacific Academy of Sciences, Science Education, and Environmental Management (APASEEM) will host a science-focused public gathering on local whales and dolphins next Thursday, July 18th at the American Memorial Park auditorium, Saipan. Time is from 6:30 to 8pm. Everyone is invited to attend and learn about our region's various species of marine mammals from Dr. Erin Oleson, lead scientist for the Cetacean Research Program at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu.
Dr. Oleson oversees the program’s mission to assess the abundance and status, including potential human-caused impacts, for all whale and dolphin (cetacean) populations within the Pacific Islands Region, including those near Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Erin’s research focuses on developing new passive acoustic technology to monitor the occurrence and behavior of whales and dolphins in remote regions or in situations where traditional visual methods are ineffective. In 2011 Erin was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her work to bring new innovative technological solutions to fill critical data gaps in cetacean science in the Pacific Region. Research within the Cetacean Program focuses on pairing traditional survey techniques, including ship-based and small boat surveys for cetaceans, with new technologies, such as long-term acoustic recorders, animal-carried tags, and development of new autonomous sensors to develop new techniques for assessing cetacean populations. A copy of her PowerPoint slides from last year's talk is posted on the APASEEM website listed below.
With support from the U.S. Navy, the Cetacean Program has been conducting small boat surveys from Guam, Rota, and Saipan since 2010. To date these surveys have documented 20 species of cetaceans in the waters of the Marianas Archipelago, a figure which doubles the number which was known just two years ago. In addition, two long-term acoustic recorders have been deployed near Saipan and Tinian to monitor the presence of cetaceans year-round for comparison with these vessel surveys. Erin’s presentation will discuss some of the Program’s findings from the recent surveys and acoustic research in the Marianas. One year and five months of data available so far indicate the presence of several dolphin species, Bryde’s, humpback, and fin whales, at least three species of beaked whale, along with possible new species detected by this year's acoustical probes.
As at all APASEEM talks, questions from the audience are strongly encouraged. For more information visit the www.apaseem.org website or write to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.