Whale & dolphin research outreach in Saipan

By Marie Hill and Andrea Bendlin

We represented the PIFSC Cetacean Research Program (CRP) when we visited Saipan 4-6 May, 2015 for education and outreach. We gave presentations at Saipan Southern High, William S. Reyes, Garapan Elementary, and Saipan International Schools.   Students ranged from grades 2 – 12. We talked about the research that the CRP has been conducting in the Marianas since 2010 including some of the results from the research.

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Marie talks about past and current PIFSC CRP research in the Marianas.

The students also participated in hands-on activities to learn about the tools that we use in order to study cetaceans.   One of these activities involved matching the nicks and notches on the dorsal fins of short-finned pilot whales to identify individuals. They also had a chance to practice taking identification photos. Additionally, students learned about passive acoustics and using software to visualize sound.

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Andrea demonstrates how to identify individual pilot whales.

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Students at Saipan Southern High School see their own voices on a spectrogram.

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Students at Saipan International School practice matching fins.

Overall we considered this a great trip. After visiting 13 classes that included over 400 students, we have developed a new appreciation for our teachers and the long days they put in! We look forward to visiting the Islands again soon!


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