74. SPHERECAM: AN ACOUSTIC-VIDEO SYSTEM FOR MONITORING ENDANGERED MARINE MAMMAL POPULATIONS
Name: Antonella Christine Wilby
Grad Year: 2020
As the health of the ocean continues to decline, more and more marine populations are at risk of extinction. One such population is vaquita marina, a porpoise that lives in the northern Gulf of California in Mexico, of which only 50 individuals remain, and which is predicted to go extinct by 2018 unless drastic conservation measures are implemented. A significant challenge facing conservation biologists is the ability to monitor the vaquita population due to its dwindling size. Without effective monitoring capabilities, biologists have limited ability to assess the current health of the population and learn more about the species as a whole. We present an acoustically-triggered video system for behavioral monitoring of vaquita and other marine mammals. The system is triggered off of the echolocation clicks used by dolphins and porpoises for navigation, and provides a means for population assessment through both acoustic and visual analysis. We aim to use this system to capture the first ever underwater photos of vaquita. Additionally, with the vaquita population as the first use case, we aim to provide a novel tool for enhanced monitoring of other endangered marine populations worldwide.
Industry Application Area(s)
Life Sciences/Medical Devices & Instruments | Ocean Engineering | Conservation Biology | Scientific Instrumentation