HUMPACS (Humpback Pacific Survey)

EUROPA'S East-West journey

The map above shows Europa’s East-West journey. HUMPACS II West Leg track, which started Dec 26th, 2018 is in red. HUMPACS I East Leg track, from Jan -April 2018, is in green. You can zoom in on either leg and hover over a breadcrumb to track the exact path. The Jupiter team will keep you updated on the progress through our blog. Stay tuned!

Ed Lyman / HIHWNMS / NOAA Fisheries Permit #782-1719   (Original image has been altered to include Wave Glider)

Ed Lyman / HIHWNMS / NOAA Fisheries Permit #782-1719

(Original image has been altered to include Wave Glider)


Jupiter Research Foundation (JRF) has long pursued science and technological innovation. We co-invented the Wave Glider® (WG), an ocean-going Liquid Robotics vehicle currently doing ocean research around the world. We are partnering with Dr. Jim Darling, a humpback whale song expert with Whale Trust Maui to embark on our most ambitious project to date, a survey of humpback whales across the Pacific.

The Pacific Ocean contains well-known nearshore humpback whale migration destinations (Japan, Philippines, Hawaii, Mexico), but offshore studies between these destinations are limited. No one knows if the nearshore populations are isolated from each other, or if there is a more continuous band of whales spanning the Pacific. 

The unmanned surface vehicle Wave Glider®, Europa, is wave and solar-powered and loaded with high-tech listening and monitoring gear, sound triggers and satellite uplinks. Mike Holt, a longtime collaborator and acoustic expert, helped us design a hydrophone housing that acoustically matches seawater. Europa will search for humpbacks where no one has looked – the deep ocean basins and seamounts between Hawaii and Baja California (East Leg) and between Hawaii and the Mariana Trench (West Leg), where biologists have long wondered if there is an undiscovered distribution of humpback whales. If Europa hears something of interest, she can linger around the area to investigate. Our mission will determine the presence or absence of humpbacks by listening for the presence of their song. While we realize this is like searching for a needle in a haystack, the humpbacks’ song contains a wide range of frequencies and decibels that travel great distances in the ocean, making it a large needle in a haystack. 

Our mission is the first of its kind: transecting the Pacific at a slow pace of ~1.5 knots over several months, recording the acoustic soundscape 24/7, collecting sea surface temperature, salinity, ocean currents, weather data, and above and underwater photos all from an unmanned surface vehicle. The acoustic data we collect are critical to the studies of behavior and abundance of humpback whales in the North Pacific and may contribute to the new science of marine ecoacoustics. Visit our Data Portal.

We have other payloads on board such as an HF Radio communications system (HF Voyager) on our East Leg, and a camera system (both East and West Legs). For more information, please click here.



Displayed above are pictures of Europa's float (above the surface), updated periodically. 


Displayed above are pictures of Europa's sub (below the surface), updated periodically.