MSc project: Spatial ecology of South Pacific humpback whales.


I will create a GIS at three sites: Tonga, American Samoa (in collaboration with Dr Jooke Robbins & Dr David Mattila) and the Cook Islands (in collaboration with Nan Hauser) to compare habitat use of the whales and determine which environmental variables are important in their spatial ecology.

For the last three humpback whale seasons (July-October) I have assisted Nan Hauser with her whale research work in the Cook Islands. This involved field work from her boats collecting photographs of each animals tail fluke (for individual identification), collecting skin samples using a biopsy gun (for genetic analysis), recording whale song using an underwater hydrophone, determining positions using a GPS, recording behavior using video. During these months it is mating and calving season, so there was always a lot happening and whales were seen nearly every day.

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