In August MNRE staff Samantha Kwan was able to join the Great Barrier Reef Whale and Dolphin Research Programme led by Blue Planet Marine and operates in collaboration with the Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory at the University of Queensland, Australia. This multidiscipline scientific programme gathers important data about the breeding sub-stock of east Australian humpback whales found on the Great Barrier Reef. It incorporates: behavioral studies; photo-identification; acoustics; and genetic sampling.
Ms. Samantha’s main objective for joining the research was to build her capacity in undertaking marine mammal research. For 6 days Ms. Samantha lived aboard a research vessel “The Escape” and participated in the programme as a research assistant. Some of the key things Ms. Samantha was able to learn were; programme health, environment and vessel safety, general operations of vessels and how to operate around whales and dolphins, humpback whale behavior, biology and ecology, underwater acoustics and firearm safety. In November, the Ministry will be conducting its whale and dolphin research and incorporating the new methods and techniques Ms. Samantha has learned.
The Ministry would like to acknowledge the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Blue Planet Marine for supporting the participation of Ms. Samantha to this important research and capacity building programme.