Hawaii cetacean survey invitation

Aloha colleagues,

The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, in partnership with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, will be conducting an EEZ-wide survey in Hawaii (main and northwestern Hawaiian Islands) for cetaceans in the summer and fall of 2017. The Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey, or HICEAS, will take place on seven 25-30 day legs on 2 ships (R/Vs Oscar Sette and Reuben Lasker) from July to December 2017. The survey consists of visual and passive acoustic line-transect surveys for cetaceans, strip-transect surveys for seabirds, and underway oceanographic observations (1-2 CTDs per day, active acoustics in select areas, underway flow-through temperature, salinity, and fluorescence measures). Select cetacean species may also be approached for collection of identification photographs, tissue samples, and/or deployment of satellite telemetry tags.  The entire effort represents 187 days at sea.

We are inviting letters of interest from colleagues and students that would like to 1) request data collection during the survey, or 2) participate in the survey as a visiting scientist, either as an independent observer or passive acoustics technician or to collect data for an add-on project.  There will be 1-2 berths available for visiting scientists on each leg of the survey.  All requests should consider our survey design, or more explicitly, that the ship will be underway at 10 kts during day and night except when pursuing cetacean groups for additional sampling or when conducting CTDs.  Requests for occasional instrument deployments, additional CTD casts in specific areas, or limited side-deployed net or instrument tows may be considered, while projects requiring extensive station-based sampling will not. We are also unable to support standard trawl or mocness tows or other devices towed off the stern of the ship while underway, as these are incompatible with our towed hydrophone array operations.

The survey will present an excellent opportunity for students to gain familiarity and experience with visual and passive acoustic data collection approaches for cetaceans. Similarly, if you have an interest in cetacean tissue samples from specific species or region, the survey should present an excellent opportunity to obtain some samples. Additional advanced passive acoustic sampling and processing, station-based sampling that may occur concurrent with CTDs, or requests for certain types of oceanographic or other sampling in association with specific species is feasible.  You may request that the survey team collect data for you, or you may request to join the survey to collect data yourself.

If you’d like to join or request data collection during HICEAS, please send a letter of interest describing what you would like to achieve during the survey (e.g. gain experience with passive acoustic data collection, collect samples from a specific species of dolphins to measure xyz, deploy abc instrument at x,y location for sampling 123, etc). If your request requires sampling, please provide information on how many samples are required, how they are collected, if they must come from specific portions of the overall study area, or during a certain part of the summer or fall. If your project is selected for inclusion you will be responsible for securing appropriate collection permits, if needed, and with a few exceptions (i.e. standard biopsy samples). Participants must be able to commit to a full survey leg. Most legs begin and end in Honolulu, though a few start or end in California or in Hilo, HI. Travel or other financial support is not available from PIFSC or SWFSC for your participation. If you’d like to participate in the survey itself, please indicate you general period of availability between July and December.

Please send letter of interest to Annette Henry (annette.henry@noaa.gov ) by January 31, 2017. If you have questions about the survey, or wonder whether your request is consistent with the survey design, please contact Erin Oleson, erin.oleson@noaa.gov.

Best,

Erin Oleson & Jeff Moore (HICEAS Chief Scientists)

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