HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Marine Mammal Research Program is a team that conducts research focused on marine life located at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology on Moku o Loe. It has been an institution of the University of Hawaii at Manoa since 1995.
According to MMRP, this program is currently working on six projects including two that look at the impact of man-made underwater sound on marine life.
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- Humpback whales, climate change and prey availability
- In-situ calibration of UAV photogrammetry
- Population biology of Hawaiian spinner dolphins
- Free-ranging Hawaiian monk seal underwater acoustic behavior
- Conservation biology of gray whales on their breeding grounds
- False killer whales, short-finned pilot whales and anthropogenic sound
Humpback whales, climate change and prey availability
The team is working on this project to better understand why the humpback whale population has decreased.
Researchers will be looking at shifts in habitat use as well as changes to food availability linked to prey depletion and climate change from their journey between Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.
In-situ calibration of UAV photogrammetry
By using new technologies, this project is the first phase of a multi-part study to assess delphinid population growth and survival rates.
This study will also consider whether there may be cause for concern of populations as well.
Population biology of Hawaiian spinner dolphins
Spinner dolphins can be seen throughout the island chain and is a marine population that has the highest exposure to the human population in the world.
According to the program, little is known about the overall population size, distribution or age structure of these animals. The team is conducting research on spinner dolphins focused on the Kona coast of the Big Island and the Waianae coast of Oahu.
Free-ranging Hawaiian monk seal underwater acoustic behavior
With only 1,400 monk seals remaining the MMRP is researching how they communicate underwater and the impacts of human behavior on the monk seal acoustic communication.
For this project, the researchers will describe the call produced by the monk seals, collect data on the time of day and year the monk seals communicate and assess the potential impact of man-made underwater sound on the behavior and communication of monk seals.
Conservation biology of gray whales on their breeding grounds
This project conducts research on trying to understand the behavior patterns of grey whales in San Ignacio lagoon, Mexico and how human activity influences these patterns.
False killer whales, short-finned pilot whales and anthropogenic sound
According to MMRP anthropogenic noise is increasing in oceans globally and significantly impacting marine species. This study will focus on two Hawaiian-toothed whale species, short-finned pilot whales and false killer whales.
The study looks at shipping and naval activity in the main islands among other man-made underwater noise to identify the potential effects on these species.
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For more information on each of these projects click here.