Sea Rescue Group Aids Whale Research

A local sea rescue group has come to the aid of whale researchers and their acoustic recording equipment.

Naturaliste Volunteer Sea Rescue Group are a registered charity of volunteers which is part of the WA Fire and Emergency Services.  They operate year-round to respond to boaters or other water-users in distress who need assistance.

The Naturaliste Volunteer Sea Rescue Group provide assistance to water-users in distress

The Naturaliste Volunteer Sea Rescue Group provide assistance to water-users in distress

However, over the past few years the Sea Rescue Group have lent their assistance to a slightly different issue.  SouWEST researchers from the Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) at Curtin University are studying whale acoustics in Geographe Bay.  To do this the researchers use underwater acoustic loggers, which can be deployed at sea for several months at a time to record whale vocalisations, as well as environmental and human-made sounds.  This acoustic data can be used to answer various research questions about whale ecology and behaviour.  But the scientists need a bit of help to get these noise loggers and the accompanying moorings, acoustic releases, ropes and buoys out to their study site.

Four acoustic loggers and their moorings packed for transportation to Geographe Bay from Curtin University

Four acoustic loggers and their moorings packed for transportation to Geographe Bay from Curtin University

Since 2008, SouWEST has been generously supported by the Naturaliste Volunteer Sea Rescue Group to deploy and recover our noise loggers.  Each year, the loggers are deployed between October and December to record the whale migration through Geographe Bay, which has already yielded some interesting research results.

The assistance of the Sea Rescue Group has been invaluable, and greatly appreciated!

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