SAFS Seminar: Amy Kennedy

Thursday, October 12, 4:00 pm
Fishery Sciences Building, Room 102

Large whale satellite telemetry: A tool for determining habitat use, distribution, and behavior of endangered whale populations.

Over the past decade, NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory and JISAO scientists have partnered with local and international organizations to conduct satellite telemetry research on large whales to describe their fine-scale movement and habitat use. Additional ecological projects detailing physical and physiological effects of tagging on individuals and populations have been conducted. Results show that satellite telemetry is a powerful tool for collecting high resolution movement data that cannot be obtained or predicted in any other way. We found that while whales aggregate in well-known areas, there can be substantial seasonal variation in individual movements. Whales routinely cross international borders, reinforcing the need for multinational collaboration when managing these endangered animals. Finally, our research has contributed to improving tag designs and deployment techniques that minimize physical impacts of tagging and maximize longevity of tag transmission.

Dr. Amy Kennedy, a research scientist with JISAO at NOAA’s Marine Mammal Marine Laboratory, received her doctorate from the University of Paris. Her research has focused on telemetry-driven research, with emphasis on fine-scale cetacean habitat use within high human impact regions and marine protected areas. Since Dr. Kennedy began tagging whales in 2009, she has deployed satellite tags on whales in the Chukchi and Bering Seas, Gulf of Maine, Straits of Magellan, Dominican Republic, Arabian Sea, South Africa, Brazil, and the French West Indies. Dr. Kennedy’s current research focuses on using telemetry data to describe large whale habitat use in breeding and feeding grounds.