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August 2011

Video team departs; Final leg of 2011 Gulf expedition begins: ODYSSEY Gulf Blog (Year 2), Days 62-64, August 9-11, 2011

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Another quick port call in Pensacola and we are now back out for our final leg of this year’s expedition. We said goodbye to Iain Kerr, Jonah, James and Franklin in port. We enjoyed our time with each of them, all fine men. Fortunately, there is ample footage of our time with them as around 1,000 film segments were taken over the last leg.

On this leg, we will pass through some Bryde’s whale territory on our way to one more day in some sperm whale places. Then we will turn back into Bryde’s territory and end the expedition on about August 17 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

We welcome three people to the expedition. Andy who was on as part of the film crew, will now work on the science crew. It turns out in the fall he will be a graduate student in England studying animal behavior. Thus, this leg will be a chance for him to also enjoy some biology work, though I am not clear whether the animal behavior he will find interesting will be the whales or us! Maybe both. On this leg, he will be the science photographer.

We also have Dr. Michael Carvan, a toxicologist from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I have known Mike for a number of years. He does important and elegant work on mercury toxicity using fish as a study species. He was also one of the first to culture dolphin cells some years ago. You can check out his lab at: http://www4.uwm.edu/freshwater/people/carvanm.cfm. He will man the arrows and net on this leg.

Finally, we have Laura Savery on board. Laura is the senior doctoral student in my laboratory. That means: 1) She has been there the longest; 2) She is the voice for all of the students confusion with my directions and ideas (i.e. she keeps me in line); and 3) She will graduate soon. Laura is doing her dissertation work on metal levels in sperm whales using both the global voyage dataset and these Gulf
whales. Laura will be the data keeper on this leg.

The rest of the crew remain, Johnny, Cathy, Sandy, Captain Bob, First mate Ian, John Bradford and me.

John

P.S. We are in the Gulf. Our current location is 30 degrees 01.8 minutes North and 87 degrees 17.5 minutes West, for those who want to track us as we go. For Google maps (not Google Earth – but maps) or Bing maps use (include letters and comma):  30.018 N, 87.175 W.

(Blog by: John Wise, Sr., Science Director)