What we got up to at this year’s North Wales Mammal Symposium:
Although we (interns) spend a lot of time here in Cardigan Bay, it’s not unheard of for us to venture a little further away. Such an expedition occurred on 22nd October, when a small team of Sea Watch crew braved the 3.5 hour journey up to Bangor University, to attend the North Wales Mammal Symposium.
This event, run by the North Wales Mammal Group, was an ideal opportunity for several mammal conservation organisations to showcase some of their recent endeavours to students and other mammal enthusiasts. In addition, the symposium featured a series of guest speakers who gave talks and ran workshops on mammal ecology. The theme of the symposium was “Rewildling”, and as such, many talks were focused on the re-introduction of native species, such as pine martens, red squirrels, and wolves, to their historical habitats.
However, despite the theme of “re-wildling”, a mammal symposium wouldn’t be complete without discussing the marine mammals that help make Wales such a wildlife hotspot for tourists. At this point, our very own research assistant, Sonia Doblado, got a chance to shine as she delivered a workshop on the use of acoustic monitoring devices in marine mammal research. After describing several different techniques for acoustic monitoring, including the use of towed hydrophones and passive acoustic monitors, the eager attendees were then given a chance to test their skills by matching acoustic signals to the animals that produced them. Some were easy…..some were harder…..and some just sound like something off a science-fiction movie.
Below we have examples of killer whale, minke whale and harbour porpoise signals. Why don’t have a go and see if you can guess which sound belongs to which animal? (NB answers at bottom of page).
C:(Audios taken from our archives)
See what we mean by weird? Once the workshop was finished, we got a chance to talk to other projects about their work and spread the word about the Sea Watch Foundation a little more, before embarking on the long drive back home.
Conferences and symposiums, like the one we attended, are a great way to meet other scientists who share a similar interest in conservation. If you’re interested in taking part in one, then why don’t you check online to see if there’s any near you? You never know, you might meet us there!
Answers: A- harbour porpoise, B-killer whale, C- minke whale.
Written by: Laura Bartlett, Sea Watch Foundation Intern 2016.