Dr Jen Jackson (British Antarctic Survey) is Principal Investigator on the Whale:SWIM project and chief cruise organiser. Jen (@polarbiome) has been working at BAS for seven years, and on whales for 13 years. She’s interested in how whale populations are connected and oceanic boundaries to movement, what their “pre-exploitation” abundance might look like before the havoc of whaling, and the myriad ways that genetics can be informative about the population identity, isolation and abundance of whale species. Jen has been involved in the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission for many years, including the last three as Chair of their ‘Southern Hemisphere’ sub-committee which oversees assessment of whale recovery levels in the Southern Hemisphere. Some news stories about her past and current work can be found here.
Dr Emma Carroll (@emzlcarroll) is a molecular ecologist and statistical modeller who combines microchemical markers, genomics, and life history data to investigate and monitor natural populations. After completing a PhD, and subsequently a postdoctoral fellowship, in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, Dr Carroll moved to the Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, Scotland. As a Research Fellow, first with a Newton International Research Fellowship and then a Marie Curie Research Fellowship, she has been investigating the influence of migratory culture on connectivity in the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis).
Emma will be collecting skin samples on the cruise to investigate the genetic diversity and population connectivity of the South Georgia feeding ground with other Southern right whale calving grounds, as the chief Project Partner and post-doctoral researcher on the Whale:SWIM project.
Susannah Calderan (@susa_scoter) is a world expert on Antarctic blue whale acoustics. As part of the Australian Antarctic Division-based team which pioneered new techniques in long-range blue whale acoustic tracking, she has been a key member of the acoustic team on four blue whale-tracking voyages. Susannah has also worked more generally on baleen whale acoustics, developing tracking techniques for other species including fin, right, humpback, Bryde’s, and sei whales. Susannah works with NGOs, Universities and governmental organisations in the UK, Europe, the US and Australasia, and has conducted vessel-based research in all ocean basins. Much of her work has involved developing new visual and acoustic survey and analysis techniques for localising and tracking cetaceans at a range of spatial scales. In addition to large whale work, Susannah has a long-standing interest in and commitment to porpoise research, and to the study of anthropogenic impacts, in particular underwater noise and fisheries bycatch. She is a member of the international team working on Mexico’s critically endangered porpoise species, the vaquita. Susannah is also a science writer, producing online and print content primarily on whale conservation and welfare.
Susannah will be using her acoustic expertise to localise right whales and acoustically monitor whale presence during the cruise.
Russell Leaper is a marine scientist working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and has decades of experience in research right across marine mammal conservation, including in acoustics, survey design, abundance and population assessment and monitoring and mitigation of threats. Most recently he has been working to address threats to whales from underwater noise and collisions with shipping, including in his role as Chair of the Human Induced Mortality Working Group at the International Whaling Commission.
Russell will be using his acoustic expertise to localise right whales and acoustically monitor whale presence during the cruise.
Dr. Amy Kennedy is a research scientist and principal investigator with the University of Washington’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans (JISAO). She is working with the Marine Mammal Laboratory (a division of NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Centre) in Seattle, WA (USA). She has more than 15 years of experience with conducting marine mammal surveys and is accomplished in all aspects of data collection and assessment, including satellite telemetry, biopsy, small vessel handling around large whales, visual line-transect, and photo-identification methods. Since she began tagging whales in 2009, she has deployed Argos-monitored satellite tags on humpback, right, and gray whales in the Chukchi and Bering Seas, Gulf of Maine, Straits of Magellan, Dominican Republic, Arabian Sea, Brazil, South Africa, and the French West Indies. Check out some of her recent work on the Critically Endangered North Pacific right whale here. Since receiving her doctorate from the University of Paris, Dr. Kennedy’s research goals have focused on telemetry-driven research and development, with emphasis on fine-scale cetacean habitat use within high human impact regions and marine protected areas.
Amy will be using her satellite tagging skills to tag and track right and humpback whales in South Georgia waters, to find out where they are feeding.
Professor Artur Andriolo is an Associate Professor of biology at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil, and is also vice-president of the Brazilian non-governmental organisation Instituto Aqualie. Artur has participated in a number of projects to estimate cetacean population abundance, as well as bioacoustics and monitoring of marine mammals in Brazilian waters. He co-ordinates cetacean surveys along the coast of Brazil and also Antarctica, as a member of the Brazilian Antarctic Program.
Artur will be using his survey and acoustic skills to assist with finding and identifying whales on the South Georgia expedition.
Dr Matthew S. Leslie (@okiewhaler) is the Secretary’s Distinguished Research Fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and National Zoological Park, USA. He has conducted whale research via small boats in Madagascar, Gulf of Mexico, Cambodia, and Australia, and offshore cetacean research in the western Hawaiian Islands, Chilean Patagonia, and the Bahamas. Matt has previously conducted Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry work in remote conditions, including studies of blue whales in the Chilean fjords and humpback whales in Oman.
Matt will be piloting a UAV during the right whale cruise, in order to measure right whale body condition and collect blow samples for microbial analysis.
Emilie Stepien is studying for her MSc in bioacoustics and behavioural ecology at the University of Southern Denmark. Over this time she has developed extensive experience with deploying UAVs to monitor the behaviour of harbour porpoise in Danish waters and blue whales off Iceland.
Emilie will be assisting with the UAV deployment during the right whale cruise, to measure right whale body condition and collect blow samples for microbial analysis.