The capacity to remotely monitor fine-scale animal behavior and movement has significantly enhanced our ability to study and manage populations, and bio-loggers have become one of the most widely-used research tools across all marine mammal species. My overarching research interests focus on telemetry-based bio-logging research and development, with emphasis on describing fine-scale marine mammal behavior within protected areas and regions of high human impact. In addition to behavior and movement studies, I collaborate on projects that examine the long-term physiological impacts of bio-logger deployment on large whales and the overall performance of various bio-logger designs. Methods that allow for an examination of tag design and deployment should be integrated into bio-logging studies to the fullest extent possible.
Having spent two decades in the field of cetacean research, I have amassed considerable experience in nearly all aspects of marine mammal research and project management. I am currently a cetacean research scientist and principal investigator with the University of Washington’s Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) and the Marine Mammal Laboratory (a division of NOAA Fisheries) in Seattle, WA (USA). Since I began tagging whales in 2009, I have deployed Argos-monitored satellite tags in humpback, right, and gray whales in the Chukchi and Bering Seas, South Georgia Island, Gulf of Maine, Kenya, Réunion Island, Straits of Magellan, Dominican Republic, Arabian Sea, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, and the French West Indies.
In addition to my work with bio-logging research, I also have extensive experience with line-transect and biopsy or photo-identification based mark-recapture abundance studies. As the curator of the North Pacific and South Georgia right whale catalogs, I have nearly two decades of experience with the management of large photographic-identification databases. Recently, I collaborated on a grant designed to study the use of unmanned aerial vehicle technology as a tool for cetacean distribution and abundance surveys in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Photo taken by Amy Kennedy under research permit #14245