“Prevailing Wind & Whales” special MIT concert Saturday is all Gloucester Ocean Alliance, Parley, MIT Wind Ensemble 20th Anniversary & Humpback Whales

Parley X MIT: Prevailing Wind and Whales Saturday April 27, 2019

Reserve tickets here

From the press release:

7:00pm Parley SnotBot, EarBot & Drones for Whale Research
Parley Pre-Concert Talk Featuring Drs. Iain Kerr & Roger Payne, Ocean Alliance
Cyrill Gutsch, Founder, Parley for the Oceans

Join Dr. Roger Payne, Dr. Iain Kerr, and Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch as we dive into the world of whales and the new technologies that are changing the way that we study them.

8:00pm MIT Wind Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert

Dr. Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director
Kenneth Amis, Assistant Conductor
Stephen C. Massey, Guest Conductor
MITWE Alumni
Kathryn Salfelder and Michael Weinstein, Guest Composers
Drs. Roger Payne and Iain Keer, Guest Speakers, Ocean Alliance
Cyrill Gutsch, Guest Speaker, Parley for the Oceans

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, MITWE brings together traditional and new music, works commissioned by the ensemble, special guests, and alumni.  In tribute to its recent tour to the Dominican Republic and collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, the concert features “In Praise Of The Humpback,” prefaced by remarks by legendary biologist-environmentalist and whale song expert, Dr. Roger Payne.

Renowned music educator Stephen C. Massey leads Persichetti Symphony no. 6, and legendary wind ensemble conductor-historian Frank L. Battisti will be honored by performances of three works composed for his 85th birthday in 2016, by Kenneth Amis, Kathryn Salfelder, and Michael Weinstein. MITWE’s percussion ensemble performs a new work in honor of MITWE’s 20th anniversary and “Course Sax” performs Piazzolla’s famed “Cafe, 1930” from Histoire du Tango. MITWE alumni join current MITWE members to close out the program with Gustav Holst’s amiable Second Suite in F. 

MIT Wind Ensemble
https://mta.mit.edu/music/performance/mit-wind-ensemble

Parley For The Oceans
https://www.parley.tv/#fortheoceans

Ocean Alliance
https://whale.org/

Center for Coastal Studies (informational materials available at the concert)
http://coastalstudies.org/

OCEAN ALLIANCE’S IAIN KERR TO APPEAR ON BBC BLUE PLANET LIVE!


Amy Kerr writes the following:

Below is a message from Iain, who is in the Sea of Cortez preparing for the BBC’s “Blue Planet Live” for this Wednesday and Sunday. He said he’d never do a live show with whales again, but here we are! The following are his instructions on how to watch outside of the UK (4:00 EST?), and if you can figure them out and DO you are a good good friend. At the very least, send him your positive whale-y, snotty thoughts!

Dear Friends,

Chris, Andy and I have just arrived in Loreto. We are pretty damn excited to be taking part in the BBC Blue Planet Live Series. You can find more information on the show here: BBC Blue Planet Live. As I understand it the first show went live today, with Chris Packham and the crew in San Ignacio Lagoon. I have it on good faith that Chris was downwind of a grey whale and he got Snotted!

I am also excited but terrified to report that they have asked me to take part in the additional 4th live show on Sunday. So you can catch us on live TV on Wednesday the 27th (SnotBot with blue whales….🤞🤞) and Sunday 31st of March, EarBot and Humpback whales (🤞🤞).  Right now my biggest concern is finding whales and good weather, preferably both at the same time, then of course not making a fool of myself on live TV.

For those of you not in England, there is a way to watch the show live on your computer, Chris says you have to get a VPN, which before last week I had never heard of.  In short if the BBC website thinks that your computer is in England it will let you watch the show.  

Clearly if you can’t watch the show live I am sure BBC will put it up on their website so I will send that information out next week.

So here we go – Get a VPN

  1. Download NordVPN 7 day free trial (https://free.nordvpn.com/trial/)
    1. Make sure to remember to cancel before the 7th day to avoid being charged $100+ for the 3 year subscription
    2. Alternatively, you can buy one month for $11.99
  2. After you’ve signed up for the trial, download and install the VPN app on your computer https://ucp.nordvpn.com/downloads
  3. Open the VPN app, log into your account
  4. Search for “United Kingdom” server in the country list
    1. Once connected to a server, now the internet thinks you are in the UK

Create BBC account

  1. Go to BBC iPlayer (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer)
  2. Register for an account (https://account.bbc.com/signin)
  3. Choose United Kingdom as your country, and put in a UK postal code, this one should work: SW191AA
  4. Verify your email address with the email sent to you after registering

Watch BBC ONE

  1. Log back into BBC iPlayer and search for Blue Planet Live if it already aired, or if you’re trying to watch live go to channels and click on BBC ONE, then click “watch live”
  2. When asked if you have a TV License, click YES
  3. Press play
    1. If you get a message that says “This content doesn’t seem to be working” – go back to your VPN app and click United Kingdom again, it will give you a new server number, refresh BBC iPlayer and try again. You might need to try a few different UK servers before you get one that works.

I will try to send out a few blogs from our time here, until then….

Best Fishes from Loreto.

Iain

Today’s paper | #GloucesterMA Ocean Alliance in the news and update from DR

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Sean Horgan article for Gloucester Daily Times “Ocean Alliance Planning Innovation Center at Paint Factory” includes rendering of restoring 2 former sites for new use

View past Paint Factory Ocean alliance _20190306_Gloucester MA_© catherine ryan

March 5, 2019 Message from Iain Kerr – update on Ocean Alliance research trip off the coast of the Dominican Republic studying breeding humpback whales 

“It gives me great pleasure to advise you that our last 3 days on the water have been fantastic, each day better than the previous. The weather has fallen into a typical trade wind scenario, calm in the early morning and picking up as the day goes on. We were on the boat this morning by 6:15 and had the pleasure of watching a sunrise at sea (with a whale of course).

Today we had our 1st sample by 7:15 am and had our 9th sample by 9:00 am, by 12:30 (when the winds picked up) we had collected a total of 14 samples bringing our expedition total to 54. Our goal was 50 samples, so we are now ahead of the game with 3 days to go. As the sun rose we were with a mother, calf and escort, we collected two Snot samples from each whale so we could have comparable samples, then we collected another sample from each whale flying at a higher altitude than the first set so that we can try to determine what effect height might have on the success/productivity of the biological data (snot) that gets onto the dish.

Angie Sremba is here from Dr. Scott Bakers lab at Oregon State, Angie has been focusing on the DNA analysis. She brought us some exciting information with regards to how our biological data capabilities have (successfully) evolved over time. It is important to remember here that part of this whole process is developing the collection tools and protocols and while Dr. Bakers lab is developing the preservation and analysis protocols. In summary in 2016 we had a 39% success rate with regards to sexing the animals from the DNA and a 55% success rate on the mitochondrial DNA. In 2018 we had a 92% success rate with regards to sexing the animals from the DNA and a 96% success rate with the mitochondrial DNA. This is clearly exciting as it demonstrates that we are learning and getting better on all fronts.

Another exciting data point today was the collection of some whale feces, the whales here are not feeding so it is unusual to find feces in this location. I think this is another amazing benefit of using drones for whale research, the drone saw the whale defecation (look very carefully for the brown stain in the last photo) and Britta and Andy were ready to collect it. This will prove invaluable in trying to put into context the hormone levels that we collect in the blow. 

We had a number of fun whale moments today but one of the best ones was a mother and Calf lob tailing together (lifting their tails up and crashing them down onto the water). The mother would throw her tail down with an enormous crash and then the baby would do the same hardly making a splash. Andy caught one of these moments on camera (see attached photo).

Today we also did some sea trials with EarBot, after this expedition I will have four days at home and then Chris and I go to Cabo San Lucas with EarBot to work on a BBC special, so we need to make sure that EarBot is in tip top shape. Last but not least I am happy to report that this blog is supported by some amazing photos from Christian Miller and Andy Rogan.

I fly out on Thursday, so I plan to do one more blog tomorrow. I hope to report on some more EarBot and Hydrophone recordings so I can attach some Humpback whale songs from the DR, and attach a few more amazing photos.

Best Fishes from the DR. 

Iain Kerr http://www.whale.org

ARKR2117
“We had a number of fun whale moments today but one of the best ones was a mother and Calf lob tailing together (lifting their tails up and crashing them down onto the water). The mother would throw her tail down with an enormous crash and then the baby would do the same hardly making a splash.” courtesy photo by Andy Rogan for Ocean Alliance

 

courtesy photos for Ocean Alliance by Christian Miller:

 

“Fish Tales: OMG”

From our friend Amy Kerr:

Iain Kerr will be making his debut as a live Storyteller at “Fish Tales: OMG” at Gloucester Stage, Friday, November 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm.

He has a wide variety of OMG stories to choose from, but he’s been working on the one that he believes takes the cake, and it includes his ever faithful friend SnotBot.

This annual Fish Tales always sells out, but you can get your tickets ahead of time here:

https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10343247

 

OCEAN ALLIANCE APPEARING ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AND RECEIVES A WEBBY ALL IN ONE WEEK!

Congratulations to Iain Kerr and Ocean Alliance!

Iain writes,

“On Monday April 30th 10:00 pm East Coast time our 2017 Sea of Cortez, Parley SnotBot field season will be featured in the National Geographic channel show. One Strange Rock.

I think that our presence in this show will be brief.

Yesterday we learnt that our Intel / Parley SnotBot production Below the Surface won a webby (this is like an Emmy but for web produced products). 

https://www.webbyawards.com/winners/2018/film-video/branded-entertainment/corporate-social-responsibility-branded/below-the-surface/

 Onwards Upwards.

PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN MILLER

RIGHT WHALES RIGHT NOW OFF OUR COAST!

Amanda Maderia, director of education programs at Maritime Gloucester writes, “Confirming Iain’s comments about believing the whales seen off our coast are likely Right Whales: We have observed some incredible plankton tows the last two days. From a few passes from our docks with our net, the sample has looked pretty clear most of the winter, but as you can see from yesterday’s sample, it looks almost blood red thick with Calenoid copepods, a huge food source for the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Looking at the overhead shot, the bucket on the left is from our plankton tow, and a close up of that to follow.  This is what one looks like under the microscope.
The plankton haul was discovered by Waring School students who come to Maritime Gloucester once a week for the spring semester.  They use it as their field station for John Wigglesworth’s oceans and climate course.
Wednesday morning, May 16th, students will be having a poster presentation of their work in the Gorton Gallery at Maritime Gloucester from 10:30-11:30.
We welcome and encourage public to attend!!
 Right Whale Migration Route
The first photo was taken from Race Point in Province town, on April 21, 2017, almost a year to the day of the Gloucester sightings.

OCEAN ALLIANCE ON VICE NEWS TONIGHT!

Iain Kerr writes,

“Last week Ocean Alliance was in Mexico working with Blue Whales. This work will be featured on Vice News Tonight, Thursday night 15th at 7:30 PM on HBO.

Also, on the 26th Nat Geo is premiering a series called “One Strange Rock,” hosted by Will Smith – Amy and I are at the Premiere in NYC right now. Ocean Alliance will be featured in one of the 10 episodes.”

Congratulations and thank you to Iain for sharing!! Please keep us posted as to when the Ocean Alliance episode will air on “One Strange Rock.”

Blue Whales

REMINDER: SNOTBOT LIVE ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SUNDAY!

Iain writes, “Wednesday morning three Gloucester residents left for SE Alaska to conduct research on Humpback whales. Our work is going to be covered live Sunday the 9th. SnotBot is going to be featured in a National Geographic Live TV event called ‘Earth Live’ this Sunday July 9th 8:00 til 10:00 east coast time.

The Gloucester residents are: John Graham, Andy Rogan, and myself. The Paint Factory Robotics lab has been very busy with interns helping us prepare for this expedition. Interns are: Lydia Zuehsow, from Olin College of Engineering, Sam Vinson from Rockport, and Austin Monell from Gloucester all helping out.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/earth-live/videos/earth-live-extended-sneak-peek/

The show will be broadcast in 171 countries and 48 languages. It’s been an exciting year for Ocean Alliance and our Gloucester team, taking the story of innovation and persistence (a historic strength of Gloucester) around the world.”

 

TREMENDOUSLY EXCITING NEWS AND SAVE THE DATE: SNOTBOT ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE!!!

Iain Kerr writes, 
Hi Kim,

TREMENDOUSLY EXCITING NEWS: SNOTBOT GOES TO THE UN!!!

SnotBot (and the Kerr family) are heading to the UN as part World Ocean’s Day celebration. Amy writes, “Iain will be speaking to the UN General Assembly on Thursday about SnotBot for World Oceans Day, along with Sir Richard Branson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sylvia Earle and James Cameron, with music by Daft Punk! We’re making a family trip of it, so Dylan and I will be going along. We’ll try to remember to bring a GMG sticker. “

 

SnotBot goes to the UN!

Gloucester’s own Ocean Alliance will be part of the World Oceans Day celebration on June 8 at the Great Hall of the United Nations in New York City. Ocean Alliance CEO Dr. Iain Kerr will speak about the role of innovation and technology in ocean conservation and will introduce delegates to Ocean Alliance’s innovative research drone, SnotBot. Dr. Kerr will be one of many ocean advocates, including philanthropist Richard Branson, director James Cameron, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who will be making presentations during the celebration along with a live feed from the International Space Station.

SnotBot is a customized drone that allows Ocean Alliance to collect behavioural and biological data (whale blow or snot) from whales noninvasively, without harming or disturbing the animals. Modified consumer drones have immense potential in marine mammal science and conservation, and Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been at the very forefront of this new research paradigm, not only attaching petri dishes and sponges to drones to collect whale blow, but also attaching cameras and microphones to collect a broad spectrum of other valuable data.

 

The whale blow that SnotBot collects contains DNA, microbiomes, pregnancy hormones, stress hormones, and ketones. SnotBot’s video camera collects behavioural data and also provides stunning imagery.

For more information about the World Oceans Day program, Christina Caputo <christina@parley.tv

For more information about SnotBot and Ocean Alliance’s Drones for Whale Research program, visit http://www.whale.or/research/drones/ or call Dr Iain Kerr at 978-281-2814 x15 or email ikerr@whale.org.

Images courtesy Ocean Alliance website.

In the news: Congratulations Kurt Lichtenwald for leading Gloucester High School robotics and engineering program and students to another recognition–this one national! And those smart Monnells…

Well deserved. See wonderful story by Ray Lamont in today’s Gloucester Daily Times: GHS Engineering program wins national award, Photo by Mike Springer shows Kurt with students Austin Monnell and Conor Williamson.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION  

TEACHER EXCELLENCE AWARD 

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It’s close to Kurt’s 20th anniversary at Gloucester High School. Here’s a throwback photo I took in February 2012 at East Gloucester Elementary. Kurt brought the high school students in to the elementary school to lead science and robotic stations for all the kids. He told me then about his approach:

“For too long; students who could memorize facts were considered highly intelligent. In my classes students must learn to apply the knowledge and prove that they learned the topics. This is a different kind of intelligence (kinesthetic – hands on intelligence)  that for so long has gone unappreciated and unrecognized.  Mixing the two types of intelligences (multi level) in a class just makes common sense and great products (student work).”-Kurt Lichtenwald

 

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Discovery Channel Canada “Daily Planet” features interview and gorgeous drone video from Iain Kerr @Ocean Alliance of whale mom and baby calf, and more!

Innovation in Gloucester

Global local: Adidas consults Ocean Alliance! Can New Balance be next?

From ocean trash to fashion smash.

Ocean Alliance CEO Ian Kerr writes: “I am working on a project with Adidas who are making shoes out of recycled plastic.  I am off to the Maldives Islands where we are intercepting plastic before it reaches the oceans (principally plastic bottles) with a team from Adidas. Ill be sending back posts to the Ocean Alliance website so please check it out.”

For more than four decades, Ocean Alliance has been a global leader dedicated to whale research and ocean health. In 2008 the organization moved its headquarters to one of Gloucester’s landmarks, the Paint Factory (built ca.1880s).  Ocean Alliance http://www.whale.org/

By 2017, Adidas will produce 1 million UltraBOOST sneakers with material made from trash grabbed from the ocean. “Meanwhile, soccer jerseys that use the plastic will be worn by the Real Madrid squad when it plays Real Sporting de Gijón later this month. Eric Liedtke, responsible for global brands at Adidas, claims that the jerseys will be the first to be made completely from materials found in oceans.” Read more Fortune magazine

adidas-fortune-ocean-aliance
Ocean Alliance Gloucester MA helping Adidas Fortune magazine 

 

One hour at a time gang — imagine all those plastic bottle trash pick ups they’ve done! See Donna’s post for details about meeting at Dogtown this week.  Maybe New Balance is working on something similar and a Neptunes Harvest like model.

GMG 2013 post Charting the paths for plastic soup patches of our oceans 

 

AMAZING CAPTURE: SNOTBOT DRONE IMAGES OF THE RARE BLUE WHALE, THE LARGEST ANIMAL ON PLANET EARTH

Blue body 2 [2]Our friends at Ocean Alliance have just returned from the Sea of Cortez.  They took their drone SnotBot down there and successfully collected Snot from Blue, Grey and Humpback whales.  Here is an except form Iain Kerr’s most recent blog along with some photos of the largest animal that has even live on this planet… a blue whale.
After 10 minutes of high speed running the boat slowed down and we immediately launched a SnotBot. Within seconds we saw a blow, still a long way off.  Luckily the DJI Inspire 1’s top speed is close to 50 mph so I raced towards the whale and was soon close enough to see it though my FPV camera system…. and OMG – it was a blue whale!  I cannot describe my feelings as I approached this remarkable animal gliding through the water. After almost 30 years in this business and a British understated reputation to maintain, I have to admit that my hands started shaking and yes I made a mess of my first approach and did not get a blow sample.  I did not care though, the experience of flying SnotBot over the largest animal that has ever lived on the planet was an experience of a lifetime. To put this animal’s size into context: an adult blue whale’s tongue can weigh 6.5 tons; the heart is so big that a human adult could climb into one chamber.  Our blue whale was stunning in the crystal clear water, seeming to swim effortlessly.  After it dove I just left the drone hovering above its footprint and looked around at the rest of the team who were all ecstatic – last day on the water, beautiful weather and we were with a blue whale. I have only ever seen a blue whale once and when you look at the attached photo you realize that a drone’s eye view is incomparable; it’s the ultimate viewing experience. Look at its features, how the eyes protrude so that the animal can see forward; look at all of the different musculature and markings on the animal; just look at its amazing color.  So often with SnotBot we focus on the physical data we are collecting from the blow: DNA, micro biomes  pregnancy and stress hormones, but here we can see that even the photos and video that we take have enormous scientific, educational and emotional value.
You can read more about their work on their website:  http://www.whale.org/snotbot-sea-of-cortez-part-3-blue-whale/
IMG_6268 Iain Kerr and John Graham representing in the Sea of Cortez (Iain reports that Gloucester resident John is their resident McGyver, who can fix anything that goes wrong on a voyage)

Blue body & boat[2]Blue body short[2]Blue Snotted[2]

Only 3 days left to join Patrick Stewart (whose new show premieres tonight) in supporting Ocean Alliance’s Snotbot!

You’ve heard about SNOTBOT, right?  OK, maybe you’re just visiting, so you haven’t heard about this yet.  Let me explain: few other Kickstarter pledges could be better for the future of Gloucester (and anyone who lives or visits here) than this one — really, no kidding.  You’ll be helping Ocean Alliance develop revolutionary drone technology for whale research — and there’s no telling what they might discover.  But what ever it is, you’ll be a part of it along with iconic actor Patrick Stewart (Jean Luc Picard on “Star Trek”, with a new show called “Blunt Talk” premiering TONIGHT on Starz)!

This is good for Ocean Alliance (which translates good for Gloucester because we want them to thrive here), good for whales, good for our planet, and good for all of us who will benefit from whatever they discover using this new gizmo!  So pledge now right here.

Discovery Channel at Ocean Alliance


Ian Kerr Discovery Channel interview ©kim Smith 2014 copyIain Kerr Interview with Discovery

Sunday morning Discovery Channel News was at Ocean Alliance filming a story about SnotBot, the organization’s new drone. The drone was created by a group of Olin College of Engineering students, under the direction of Professor Drew Bennet, in the College’s robotics lab.

Drew Bennet Olin College studentys Snot Bot ©Kim Smith 2014. JPG

“SnotBot will be used to collect DNA, bacteria, viruses and stress hormones from whale blows. The team also tested SnotShot, a machine that makes a simulated whale blow (with the capacity to simulate different blow types) on demand—a testing tool that will actually help the scientists in the field collect a control sample.

Olin College students Snot Bot ©kim Smith 2014

The SnotBot drone works something like this: “as SnotBot flies out to a whale that is approximately 300m from the research vessel, it hovers over a whale and the whale repeatedly blows onto a collection device. After the sample is collected and brought back to the RV Odyssey, the data is used to help interpret an animal’s state of heath through the analysis of bacteria, viruses, DNA, and stress hormones recovered from the whale’s blow.”

Read More from the Olin College of Engineering Website Here

Snot Bot Ocean Alliance Archives Here

Captain Dominic ©Kim Smith 2014Gorgeous View from the Paint Factory of the Captain Dominic Fishing Boat

See More Photos Here

Continue reading “Discovery Channel at Ocean Alliance”

THEN and NOW–Paint Factory (A New Beginning)

A lot of people don’t realize there is an open courtyard space that runs between the brick and wooden buildings at the Paint Manufactory. (see post card image)

As part of the restoration process, one of the courtyard spaces is currently being cleaned up by Kerr and his crew.

A pretty spectacular space.

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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Paint Factory

With CEO of Ocean Alliance Iain Kerr, Mayor Carolyn Kirk, State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, and many Ocean Alliance Volunteers.

To listen to Iain’s presentation link to     IAIN Speaks

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