After graduating from Bangor University, North Wales with a first class degree in Marine Vertebrate Zoology, I moved to St Andrews to study MRes Marine Mammal Science and I have subsequently joined the Sound Tags lab as a research assistant. I am currently working on two projects:
The short term responses of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to the attachment of suction-cup tags.
This was my master’s thesis which I wrote under the supervision of Professor Peter Tyack and Dr Mark Johnson, and I am currently revising the paper for publication. Many studies use suction-cup tags, such as DTAGs, to study marine mammal behaviour, however few studies quantify any impact of tag attachment on the animals. I used data from a large number of DTAG deployments on sperm whales to investigate whether I could detect reactions to tag attachment within dive parameters which included dive duration and foraging success.
Spatial and temporal variation in the clicking rates of Blainville’s (Mesoplodon densirostris) and Cuvier’s (Ziphius cavirostris) beaked whales and its implication for passive acoustic density estimation.
For this project I am co-supervised by Dr Mark Johnson, Professor Peter Tyack and three researchers from the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) based in St Andrews. The project aims to quantify the click production rates of two species of beaked whales and to compare between locations and years. Click production rates are essential multipliers to convert the number of passively detected clicks to the density of actual animals, thus it is essential to accurately quantify them.
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