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Monster Data: Unveiling The Secret Lives Of Marine Mammals


Event Details

Have you ever wondered how scientists know where marine mammals go and what they actually do while underwater?  Join the Vancouver Aquarium, the University of British Columbia and the Peter Wall Institute for an evening with biologists and statisticians as they reveal secrets contained in monster data now being collected by whales, seals and sea lions equipped with high-tech cameras and micro-computers.

High-tech equipment ranging from cameras to cell-phone accelerometers are being used with marine mammals so scientists can better understand animal movements underwater and across oceans to ultimately provide information that will better protect them.  This equipment collects a massive amount of information—animal speed, head strikes on prey, water depth, time of day and light levels to name a few—and is used to visualize and determine where whales and seals travel and what they do.  One of the biggest challenges for scientists however, is crunching the monster sets of data now being collected by marine mammals. 

Hosted by Vancouver Aquarium Research Associate Dr. Andrew Trites, this Monster Data Lecture features biologists, statisticians and computer scientists who have come to Vancouver from around the world for a Peter Wall International Research Roundtable to push the boundaries of current knowledge and technologies. They will talk about the novel technologies they are using, and the new discoveries they have made about the secret lives of marine mammals.   

Dr. Andrew Trites is a Research Associate at the Vancouver Aquarium, professor at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre and Director of the UBC Marine Mammal Research Unit.  Andrew’s research is primarily focused on Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, and harbor seals, and involves captive studies, field studies and computer simulations. He seeks to further the conservation and understanding of marine mammals, and resolve conflicts between people and marine mammals.

Watch Online

This talk was streamed live on the Vancouver Aquarium’s YouTube channel. 

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Vancouver Aquarium public programs provide family-friendly opportunities for people to connect with each other through hands-on activities, lectures, films, classes and field trips—all focused on aquatic conservation. 


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