Nemo, the autonomous recording device
Lauren, my sperm whale acoustics mentor
For the past month now much of what I've been doing in the office is assembling longline fishing gear that we will use in an experiment to test sperm whale deterrents (see Beaded Gangions post) and today I finished!! Lauren Wild, the girl who is spear-heading this project, and I have put beads on about 3,000 gangions and strung them onto 16 "skates" or 600 feet long sections of rope. It feels good to have finished the project finally; much of the rope we used is covered in tar to make it more durable so it became kind of a messy job.
Originally, Lauren was going to go out on a fishing boat and deploy the gear, but she unfortunately tore her ACL and meniscus in June and is therefore out of commission. I now have to pinch-hit for her, which is not ideal considering Lauren is an expert on sperm whales and acoustic analysis and I am still very much a newbie, but it's certainly an exciting opportunity. This past week Lauren's been showing me the ins and outs of "Nemo", the autonomous acoustic recorder that will be deployed with the fishing gear to record the sounds of sperm whales as they interact with the fishing gear. At some point in the next two weeks I will be going on a longline fishing trip and while the fishermen use our special gear, I'll collect written observations, acoustic data and photos. It will be really cool to see this gear in action after working on it for so long!