Friday, July 30, 2010

A Few New Sharks!

The past couple of weeks have been very active for GTOPP, with our friends at NOAA having deployed two tags on shortfin mako sharks off Southern California, and Stanford graduate student Aaron Carlisle putting out seven more on salmon sharks in the Gulf of Alaska.  Steve Miller, formerly of Google and soon to be a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, has been helping us to capture these new tags in near-real time -- so each day when you look at the interactive map, or at the maps on the individual species pages for each shark, you'll be seeing where the shark was located within the last 24 hours.  Congratulations to everyone for getting some new tags out in the water!

Next week marks the launch of the 51st Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona, Hawaii -- and the start of the 2010 Great Marlin Race.  Dr. George Shillinger and I will be there for the whole week, working with the boat captains, crews and anglers to deploy pop-up satellite tags on Pacific Blue Marlin.  You can follow the action on the Great Marlin Race website, and as we start getting marlin tracks from the race I'll be posting them here as well - so stay tuned!


Friday, July 16, 2010

One whale shark down, but more to come!

I got a note from Eric Hoffmayer earlier today - he was looking at the temperature data coming from the whale shark tags, and recognized that one of the tags had evidently floated free of the shark, and was just drifting at the surface. So to prevent confusion we pulled that track off the maps, and are now just tracking one of the whale sharks.

He will be returning to the field, however, with 10 additional tags to put out. So we are hoping that we'll be following some other whale sharks in the Gulf soon!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Launching the GTOPP Website

It has been an exciting week, beginning with the news that Drs. Eric Hoffmayer and Sylvia Earle encountered hundreds of whale sharks in the northern Gulf of Mexico, near the site of the Deepwaer Horizon oil spill, and successfully tagged several of them with electronic tags. Working with Eric we were able to get access to the near-real time data coming in from the two sharks tagged with "Smart Position-Only Tags" (SPOT tags), and we decided that, ready or not, it was time to take the Global Tagging of Pelagic Predators website ( live to share the data.

With help from lots of friends at Google, NOAA, Mission Blue, the University of Southern Mississippi, Sun Powered Productions and our own team here at Hopkins, we got the site launched and have been adding new content to it all week long. It has been really exciting time, and we are really looking forward to continuing to add more content, and to developing new ways of sharing this information with our scientific colleagues, as well as educators and students, journalists and bloggers, and explorers of all kinds around the world.

In the weeks ahead we will be adding new information to the site, including data from our archival datasets and incoming data from upcoming expeditions by us and our scientific colleagues. We will be exploring different ways of displaying tracking data and the oceanographic data that surrounds it. And we will be striving always to keep things interesting, informative and engaging.

So with thanks to everyone who has helped us get here, and to anyone who is reading this and considering joining us on this journey, I offer the following words from Mark Twain:
Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Best wishes for the holiday weekend!