Monthly Archives

June 2014

Odyssey Bowcam Footage of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News, Odyssey, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

During Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 we hope to introduce you to the many species of cetaceans found in the Gulf of Mexico despite the myriad of environmental challenges such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster, oil rigs, agricultural run-off, dead zones, shipping traffic noise and fishing debris. The Odyssey crew have encountered a wide variety of dolphin species in the Gulf, including these Atlantic spotted dolphins who came to enjoy a bowride. Our bowcam allows us to view animal behaviors underwater, so enjoy these dolphins in their natural habitat (the younger animals can be identified by their lack of spots):

To learn more about Atlantic spotted dolphins or to spend some time with them in the wild check out the Wild Dolphin Project run by our friend Dr. Denise Herzing.

An Extraordinary Odyssey Encounter in the Gulf of Mexico

By | Gulf of Mexico, july14, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

Leg 2 Part 2 by Scientific Manager of Operation Toxic Gulf Andy Rogan:

Dawn on June 18th broke, a last ditch effort for the leg to get more biopsies. And as we turned north to explore a new area a quite extraordinary day began with a familiar sound.

Watching a whale on FLIRA click. Not a whole series of clicks. Just one. There was a sperm whale out there somewhere, but it was some distance away. To find a sperm whale from just one click requires patience, vigilance experience and skill. And that is what was applied. One click turned into a short cluster of clicks. The boat headed in the estimate direction of the whale, regularly stopping to reduce interference from the engines on the hydrophone. The clicks became louder, clearer. Eventually a quiet yet steady train of clicks visualized across the computer screen. One train of clicks turned in to two trains of clicks. Two trains of clicks=two whales. A few hours after the initial click, an array of dotted lines littered the screen in front of us. Read More

The First Sperm Whale Encounter of Operation Toxic Gulf 2014

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf, Whales | No Comments

Guest Post by Odyssey Scientific Manager Andy Rogan:

Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 Leg 2, Part 1

The second leg of our Operation Toxic Gulf campaign was quite extraordinary. When I decided to write a blog about the leg it quickly became apparent that I could not justify cramming it all into one entry, and so it was split into two. This blog documents the first half of the leg. Read More

Roger Payne and Iain Kerr Speak at Sea Shepherd Summit

By | july14, Ocean Alliance News, Roger Payne, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

Guest Post by Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr:

What a remarkable weekend in Vermont at the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society International Summit. Sea Shepherd staff, volunteers, consultants and friends from around the world gathered to review past, current and future projects.

Roger Payne Speaking at Sea Shepherd SummitDr. Roger Payne and I were invited to attend the conference to speak about the work we’re doing with Sea Shepherd on Operation Toxic Gulf. We had the privilege to meet and speak with a huge variety of people, from Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson to the newest volunteers. We were really impressed by the dedication and energy we encountered across the board. It was exciting to see how interested everyone was in the science that we are doing and the potential for future collaborations.

Highlights for me were a compilation video that documented much of Paul’s life, and meeting program managers such as Gary Stokes from Hong Kong who has helped to expose the shark finning trade, Jeff Hansen of Sea Shepherd Australia, and Captain Peter Hammarstedt of the Bob Barker (as seen in “Whale Wars”).  It was nice to see Susan Hartland of Sea Shepherd USA and Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global. Our good friend Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans and Tim Coombs from Bionic Yarn also gave a powerful presentation about the “cradle to cradle” philosophy.

I like it when we can identify a problem, look for solutions, and help educate the public to bring about change and I found this philosophy very prevalent at the conference.

Sea Shepherd Summit from drone(Pictured at top: Alex Cornelissen, Peter Hammarstedt, Roger Payne, Susan Hartland, Paul Watson, Iain Kerr, Jeff Hansen; Photo by Eliza Muirhead. Group photo from drone by Iain Kerr)

Operation Toxic Gulf 2014: The Launch

By | Gulf of Mexico, jun14, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

Operation Toxic Gulf 2014, our joint campaign with Sea Shepherd USA, is in full swing in the Gulf of Mexico so we wanted to introduce you to the program, the crew and the Odyssey. This new video features footage from the first leg of the campaign, from the launch in Key West to our first sperm whale encounter of the campaign. Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr explains our decision to return to the Gulf for a fifth summer to study the impacts of Deepwater Horizon disaster:

Paint Factory Restoration is Awarded Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

We are thrilled to report that Ocean Alliance has been awarded a Mass Cultural Facilities Fund Grant of $70,000 towards the renovation of our headquarters, the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory in Gloucester, MA. We will be using the funds as part of our restoration efforts on the remaining two brick buildings A and B, and the chimney. These buildings will host our robotics laboratory and education spaces. Take the virtual immersion tour of the Paint Factory to see inside and out these historic spaces.

“It is very exciting to receive this award from the MA Cultural Council,” said Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr. “We sometimes feel that the important role that the development of anti-fouling paint played in Gloucester history has been forgotten.”Inside the Paint FactoryThe total project cost is $318,000 for buildings A and B. With this grant and another $85,000 already committed we have now raised almost half of that amount.

“Investments in our creative economy stimulate growth and opportunity in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Through this new round of funding, we are continuing to create a more vibrant place for our students to learn, our families to live and our businesses to grow.”

Read the full press release and grant recipients here.

We’re extremely thankful to the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment for supporting our work

Meet the Crew – Marc Rosenberg

By | Operation Toxic Gulf, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

Marc Rosenberg is a professional chef and Sea Shepherd volunteer from London. Here he recounts what it’s like to jump into an off-shore campaign for the first time:

April 10th 2014 I received an email from Peter Hammarstedt asking if I’d be interested in joining the Sea Shepherd and Ocean Alliance Operation Toxic Gulf as my first Sea Shepherd campaign. Without hesitation I answered… Yes. Read More

The Whale Guitar: Six-String Activism

By | Education, Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Whales are a species of sound. They live in a world of sound, communicate through sound, and captured the world’s attention when Roger Payne and Scott McVay discovered that they sing songs. Roger, in addition to being a biologist, is also a musician, and it became his life’s work to share their songs and inspire a passion to protect them.

Whale Guitar scrimshawIt’s no surprise then that artists and musicians, poets and composers are drawn to whales. This is how the Whale Guitar came to be. Read More

Biopsies! Why?

By | Education, Gulf of Mexico, Operation Toxic Gulf, Roger Payne | No Comments

A Special Guest Post by Ocean Alliance President and Founder Dr. Roger Payne:

Between 2000 and 2005 Ocean Alliance ran The Voyage of the Odyssey, a research expedition that circumnavigaged the globe measuring background levels in sperm whales of a series of contaminants. We came back with over 900 samples from sperm whales which we had analyzed for a suite of contaminants. The worst offending molecules turned out to be toxic metals—not just mercury and lead but Chromium, Aluminum, Silver and several other highly toxic metals. Read More

Support the Operation Toxic Gulf Crew with Amazon Wishlist

By | Ocean Alliance News, Odyssey, Operation Toxic Gulf, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

You can be a part of Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 by supporting the crew through their Wishlist on Amazon. From food to gear to sunscreen, the crew needs provisions throughout the summer as they study the effects of the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Work on the Odyssey continues twenty-four hours a day with watches throughout the night—that’s a lot of coffee (and tea for the Brits)!

The crew thanks you for your support!

Follow the Odyssey During Operation Toxic Gulf

By | Ocean Alliance News, Odyssey, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

The RV Odyssey has departed from Key West, Florida, and for this first leg of Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 the Odyssey is following the drop-off of the South Florida Continental Shelf where the depth goes from a few hundred feet to a few miles deep. These drop-offs are very biologically-productive areas, and as our goal is to find and sample sperm whales this is where we need to be. Read More

Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 Launches Today

By | Gulf of Mexico, jun14, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf | No Comments

A special announcement from Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr:

The Research Vessel Odyssey heads back into the Gulf of Mexico for a fifth season today.

I’ve spent the last two weeks with a remarkable international crew aboard the Odyssey prepping for our fifth summer of data and sample collection in the Gulf of Mexico—our joint campaign with Sea Shepherd Conservation SocietyOperation Toxic Gulf .  The crew represent six countries: Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Spain and the USA. Read More