We’re super psyched to be collaborating with WHOI engineer Amy Kukulya, of SharkCam fame, and Kara Dodge, a leatherback turtle expert who’s bridging the gap between WHOI and NOAA.
Amy and Kara are teaming up to use an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with a GoPro to track endangered leatherback turtles. Not only is this a non-invasive way to get close to these elusive turtles, the footage will translate into better understanding of where leatherbacks go, what they eat, and how they move. In turn, that information will help protect the turtles from entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with boats, and other hazards that have kept them on the Endangered Species List since 1970.
With research funding at critically low levels these days, innovative scientists like Amy and Kara are turning to a source familiar to filmmakers to get money for their project: crowdfunding! Through a new initiative called ProjectWHOI, they hope to raise $10,000 to prove the AUV-tracking concept. If funded, Amy and Kara will be able to spend 5 days tagging and tracking leatherbacks in Nantucket Sound. Find out more and donate here!
So where do we come in? We started by producing a short video for the Project TurtleCam crowdfunding campaign. Next, we’re going to join the dynamic duo on a turtle-tagging trip (assuming they get enough funds). Stay tuned for the full video story, which will appear on WHOI’s Oceanus website!