Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spinner Dolphin Research | Hana Hou! Magazine

I had an awesome time in the field with spinner dolphin researcher Julian Tyne and his research assistants as they studied the population of spinner dolphins on the cliffs above Kealakekua Bay and deployed bioacoustic loggers in the Big Island bays where the dolphins rest. Tyne is a graduate student at Murdoch University in Australia studying the effects of human interaction on Hawaii’s spinner dolphins, he and his colleagues have been tracking spinners in four bays along the Kona coast: Kealakekua, Kauhako, Honaunau, and Makako. We hiked down a mountain and across a lava field at dawn to the cliffs above Kealakekua bay to study dolphin behavior in the ocean below us using a theodolite, binoculars, and a computer to record the data. The next day we took a boat out to Kealakekua and Kauhako bay to deploy and reprogram bioacoustic loggers that sit on the ocean floor and listen to whether the spinner's conversation changes when humans are around. The loggers record 30 seconds of sound every four minutes using the hydrophone and have to be redeployed every 2 weeks. It was fascinating learning about their research and how regular human interaction is affecting these beautiful creatures. Thanks so much to Julian, Alexandra, Bob, Becky, and Kim for letting me document your work. See more of my photos from this Hana Hou! Magazine story about swimming with Hawaii's wild dolphins by clicking here.

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