Iain Ker forwarded these spectacular drone shots from the Ocean Alliance new dock installation.
Drone Photos by Iain Kerr using a DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Iain Ker forwarded these spectacular drone shots from the Ocean Alliance new dock installation.
Drone Photos by Iain Kerr using a DJI Mavic 2 Pro
One hundred and ninety-two feet of new dockage is being installed at Ocean Alliance’s headquarters at the old Paint Manufactory. Work began today and will continue through Friday. The E-shaped dock will be accessed via a new gangplank and until that is installed a temporary gangplank is going up.
Alicia Pensarosa, Ocean Alliance’s assistant director writes, “The new docks will be available for transient/seasonal rentals with the goal of getting more commercial, research, schooner, and educational vessels coming to Gloucester.” The new docks look beautiful and it’s a hopeful sign for Gloucester to see work continue during these unprecedented times of hardship.
Parley X MIT: Prevailing Wind and Whales Saturday April 27, 2019
Reserve tickets here
From the press release:
7:00pm Parley SnotBot, EarBot & Drones for Whale Research
Parley Pre-Concert Talk Featuring Drs. Iain Kerr & Roger Payne, Ocean Alliance
Cyrill Gutsch, Founder, Parley for the Oceans
Join Dr. Roger Payne, Dr. Iain Kerr, and Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch as we dive into the world of whales and the new technologies that are changing the way that we study them.
8:00pm MIT Wind Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert
Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director
Kenneth Amis, Assistant Conductor
Stephen C. Massey, Guest Conductor
Kathryn Salfelder and Michael Weinstein, Guest Composers
Drs. Roger Payne and Iain Keer, Guest Speakers, Ocean Alliance
Cyrill Gutsch, Guest Speaker, Parley for the Oceans
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, MITWE brings together traditional and new music, works commissioned by the ensemble, special guests, and alumni. In tribute to its recent tour to the Dominican Republic and collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, the concert features “In Praise Of The Humpback,” prefaced by remarks by legendary biologist-environmentalist and whale song expert, Dr. Roger Payne.
Renowned music educator Stephen C. Massey leads Persichetti Symphony no. 6, and legendary wind ensemble conductor-historian Frank L. Battisti will be honored by performances of three works composed for his 85th birthday in 2016, by Kenneth Amis, Kathryn Salfelder, and Michael Weinstein. MITWE’s percussion ensemble performs a new work in honor of MITWE’s 20th anniversary and “Course Sax” performs Piazzolla’s famed “Cafe, 1930” from Histoire du Tango. MITWE alumni join current MITWE members to close out the program with Gustav Holst’s amiable Second Suite in F.
MIT Wind Ensemble
Parley For The Oceans
Center for Coastal Studies (informational materials available at the concert)
Amy Kerr writes the following:
Below is a message from Iain, who is in the Sea of Cortez preparing for the BBC’s “Blue Planet Live” for this Wednesday and Sunday. He said he’d never do a live show with whales again, but here we are! The following are his instructions on how to watch outside of the UK (4:00 EST?), and if you can figure them out and DO you are a good good friend. At the very least, send him your positive whale-y, snotty thoughts!
Chris, Andy and I have just arrived in Loreto. We are pretty damn excited to be taking part in the BBC Blue Planet Live Series. You can find more information on the show here: BBC Blue Planet Live. As I understand it the first show went live today, with Chris Packham and the crew in San Ignacio Lagoon. I have it on good faith that Chris was downwind of a grey whale and he got Snotted!
I am also excited but terrified to report that they have asked me to take part in the additional 4th live show on Sunday. So you can catch us on live TV on Wednesday the 27th (SnotBot with blue whales….🤞🤞) and Sunday 31st of March, EarBot and Humpback whales (🤞🤞). Right now my biggest concern is finding whales and good weather, preferably both at the same time, then of course not making a fool of myself on live TV.
For those of you not in England, there is a way to watch the show live on your computer, Chris says you have to get a VPN, which before last week I had never heard of. In short if the BBC website thinks that your computer is in England it will let you watch the show.
Clearly if you can’t watch the show live I am sure BBC will put it up on their website so I will send that information out next week.
So here we go – Get a VPN
Create BBC account
Watch BBC ONE
I will try to send out a few blogs from our time here, until then….
Best Fishes from Loreto.
March 5, 2019 Message from Iain Kerr – update on Ocean Alliance research trip off the coast of the Dominican Republic studying breeding humpback whales
“It gives me great pleasure to advise you that our last 3 days on the water have been fantastic, each day better than the previous. The weather has fallen into a typical trade wind scenario, calm in the early morning and picking up as the day goes on. We were on the boat this morning by 6:15 and had the pleasure of watching a sunrise at sea (with a whale of course).
Today we had our 1st sample by 7:15 am and had our 9th sample by 9:00 am, by 12:30 (when the winds picked up) we had collected a total of 14 samples bringing our expedition total to 54. Our goal was 50 samples, so we are now ahead of the game with 3 days to go. As the sun rose we were with a mother, calf and escort, we collected two Snot samples from each whale so we could have comparable samples, then we collected another sample from each whale flying at a higher altitude than the first set so that we can try to determine what effect height might have on the success/productivity of the biological data (snot) that gets onto the dish.
Angie Sremba is here from Dr. Scott Bakers lab at Oregon State, Angie has been focusing on the DNA analysis. She brought us some exciting information with regards to how our biological data capabilities have (successfully) evolved over time. It is important to remember here that part of this whole process is developing the collection tools and protocols and while Dr. Bakers lab is developing the preservation and analysis protocols. In summary in 2016 we had a 39% success rate with regards to sexing the animals from the DNA and a 55% success rate on the mitochondrial DNA. In 2018 we had a 92% success rate with regards to sexing the animals from the DNA and a 96% success rate with the mitochondrial DNA. This is clearly exciting as it demonstrates that we are learning and getting better on all fronts.
Another exciting data point today was the collection of some whale feces, the whales here are not feeding so it is unusual to find feces in this location. I think this is another amazing benefit of using drones for whale research, the drone saw the whale defecation (look very carefully for the brown stain in the last photo) and Britta and Andy were ready to collect it. This will prove invaluable in trying to put into context the hormone levels that we collect in the blow.
We had a number of fun whale moments today but one of the best ones was a mother and Calf lob tailing together (lifting their tails up and crashing them down onto the water). The mother would throw her tail down with an enormous crash and then the baby would do the same hardly making a splash. Andy caught one of these moments on camera (see attached photo).
Today we also did some sea trials with EarBot, after this expedition I will have four days at home and then Chris and I go to Cabo San Lucas with EarBot to work on a BBC special, so we need to make sure that EarBot is in tip top shape. Last but not least I am happy to report that this blog is supported by some amazing photos from Christian Miller and Andy Rogan.
I fly out on Thursday, so I plan to do one more blog tomorrow. I hope to report on some more EarBot and Hydrophone recordings so I can attach some Humpback whale songs from the DR, and attach a few more amazing photos.
Best Fishes from the DR.
Iain Kerr http://www.whale.org
courtesy photos for Ocean Alliance by Christian Miller:
From our friend Amy Kerr:
Iain Kerr will be making his debut as a live Storyteller at “Fish Tales: OMG” at Gloucester Stage, Friday, November 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
He has a wide variety of OMG stories to choose from, but he’s been working on the one that he believes takes the cake, and it includes his ever faithful friend SnotBot.
This annual Fish Tales always sells out, but you can get your tickets ahead of time here:
“On Monday April 30th 10:00 pm East Coast time our 2017 Sea of Cortez, Parley SnotBot field season will be featured in the National Geographic channel show. One Strange Rock.
I think that our presence in this show will be brief.
Yesterday we learnt that our Intel / Parley SnotBot production Below the Surface won a webby (this is like an Emmy but for web produced products).
PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN MILLER
Amanda Maderia, director of education programs at Maritime Gloucester writes, “Confirming Iain’s comments about believing the whales seen off our coast are likely Right Whales: We have observed some incredible plankton tows the last two days. From a few passes from our docks with our net, the sample has looked pretty clear most of the winter, but as you can see from yesterday’s sample, it looks almost blood red thick with Calenoid copepods, a huge food source for the North Atlantic Right Whale.
Iain Kerr writes,
“Last week Ocean Alliance was in Mexico working with Blue Whales. This work will be featured on Vice News Tonight, Thursday night 15th at 7:30 PM on HBO.
Also, on the 26th Nat Geo is premiering a series called “One Strange Rock,” hosted by Will Smith – Amy and I are at the Premiere in NYC right now. Ocean Alliance will be featured in one of the 10 episodes.”
Congratulations and thank you to Iain for sharing!! Please keep us posted as to when the Ocean Alliance episode will air on “One Strange Rock.”
Iain writes, “Wednesday morning three Gloucester residents left for SE Alaska to conduct research on Humpback whales. Our work is going to be covered live Sunday the 9th. SnotBot is going to be featured in a National Geographic Live TV event called ‘Earth Live’ this Sunday July 9th 8:00 til 10:00 east coast time.
The Gloucester residents are: John Graham, Andy Rogan, and myself. The Paint Factory Robotics lab has been very busy with interns helping us prepare for this expedition. Interns are: Lydia Zuehsow, from Olin College of Engineering, Sam Vinson from Rockport, and Austin Monell from Gloucester all helping out.
The show will be broadcast in 171 countries and 48 languages. It’s been an exciting year for Ocean Alliance and our Gloucester team, taking the story of innovation and persistence (a historic strength of Gloucester) around the world.”
I hope that you are having a good 4th!!
This Wednesday morning 3 Gloucester residents are heading up to SE Alaska to conduct research on Humpback whales. Our work is going to be covered LIVE on TV next Sunday the 9th.SnotBot is going to be featured in a National Geographic Live TV event called ‘Earth Live’ this Sunday July 9th 8:00 til 10:00 east coast time.
The show will be broadcast in 171 countries and 48 languages. If you could get the word out we would be very grateful, it would be great to have some Gloucester residents watching this show! I will admit that this is going to be absolutely terrifying & exciting. Live TV, whales, SE Alaska what could go wrong?
It’s been an exciting year for Ocean Alliance and our Gloucester team, taking the story of innovation and persistence (a historic strength of Gloucester) around the world.
Gloucester’s own Ocean Alliance will be part of the World Oceans Day celebration on June 8 at the Great Hall of the United Nations in New York City. Ocean Alliance CEO Dr. Iain Kerr will speak about the role of innovation and technology in ocean conservation and will introduce delegates to Ocean Alliance’s innovative research drone, SnotBot. Dr. Kerr will be one of many ocean advocates, including philanthropist Richard Branson, director James Cameron, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who will be making presentations during the celebration along with a live feed from the International Space Station.
SnotBot is a customized drone that allows Ocean Alliance to collect behavioural and biological data (whale blow or snot) from whales noninvasively, without harming or disturbing the animals. Modified consumer drones have immense potential in marine mammal science and conservation, and Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been at the very forefront of this new research paradigm, not only attaching petri dishes and sponges to drones to collect whale blow, but also attaching cameras and microphones to collect a broad spectrum of other valuable data.
The whale blow that SnotBot collects contains DNA, microbiomes, pregnancy hormones, stress hormones, and ketones. SnotBot’s video camera collects behavioural data and also provides stunning imagery.
For more information about the World Oceans Day program, Christina Caputo <email@example.com
For more information about SnotBot and Ocean Alliance’s Drones for Whale Research program, visit http://www.whale.or/research/drones/ or call Dr Iain Kerr at 978-281-2814 x15 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images courtesy Ocean Alliance website.
Well deserved. See wonderful story by Ray Lamont in today’s Gloucester Daily Times: GHS Engineering program wins national award, Photo by Mike Springer shows Kurt with students Austin Monnell and Conor Williamson.
NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION
TEACHER EXCELLENCE AWARD
It’s close to Kurt’s 20th anniversary at Gloucester High School. Here’s a throwback photo I took in February 2012 at East Gloucester Elementary. Kurt brought the high school students in to the elementary school to lead science and robotic stations for all the kids. He told me then about his approach:
“For too long; students who could memorize facts were considered highly intelligent. In my classes students must learn to apply the knowledge and prove that they learned the topics. This is a different kind of intelligence (kinesthetic – hands on intelligence) that for so long has gone unappreciated and unrecognized. Mixing the two types of intelligences (multi level) in a class just makes common sense and great products (student work).”-Kurt Lichtenwald
Innovation in Gloucester
From ocean trash to fashion smash.
For more than four decades, Ocean Alliance has been a global leader dedicated to whale research and ocean health. In 2008 the organization moved its headquarters to one of Gloucester’s landmarks, the Paint Factory (built ca.1880s). Ocean Alliance http://www.whale.org/
By 2017, Adidas will produce 1 million UltraBOOST sneakers with material made from trash grabbed from the ocean. “Meanwhile, soccer jerseys that use the plastic will be worn by the Real Madrid squad when it plays Real Sporting de Gijón later this month. Eric Liedtke, responsible for global brands at Adidas, claims that the jerseys will be the first to be made completely from materials found in oceans.” Read more Fortune magazine
You’ve heard about SNOTBOT, right? OK, maybe you’re just visiting, so you haven’t heard about this yet. Let me explain: few other Kickstarter pledges could be better for the future of Gloucester (and anyone who lives or visits here) than this one — really, no kidding. You’ll be helping Ocean Alliance develop revolutionary drone technology for whale research — and there’s no telling what they might discover. But what ever it is, you’ll be a part of it along with iconic actor Patrick Stewart (Jean Luc Picard on “Star Trek”, with a new show called “Blunt Talk” premiering TONIGHT on Starz)!
This is good for Ocean Alliance (which translates good for Gloucester because we want them to thrive here), good for whales, good for our planet, and good for all of us who will benefit from whatever they discover using this new gizmo! So pledge now right here.
Sunday morning Discovery Channel News was at Ocean Alliance filming a story about SnotBot, the organization’s new drone. The drone was created by a group of Olin College of Engineering students, under the direction of Professor Drew Bennet, in the College’s robotics lab.
“SnotBot will be used to collect DNA, bacteria, viruses and stress hormones from whale blows. The team also tested SnotShot, a machine that makes a simulated whale blow (with the capacity to simulate different blow types) on demand—a testing tool that will actually help the scientists in the field collect a control sample.
The SnotBot drone works something like this: “as SnotBot flies out to a whale that is approximately 300m from the research vessel, it hovers over a whale and the whale repeatedly blows onto a collection device. After the sample is collected and brought back to the RV Odyssey, the data is used to help interpret an animal’s state of heath through the analysis of bacteria, viruses, DNA, and stress hormones recovered from the whale’s blow.”
See More Photos Here
A lot of people don’t realize there is an open courtyard space that runs between the brick and wooden buildings at the Paint Manufactory. (see post card image)
As part of the restoration process, one of the courtyard spaces is currently being cleaned up by Kerr and his crew.
A pretty spectacular space.