HUMPACS (Humpback Pacific Survey)
Europa has made it back to Hawaii! The Jupiter team is currently analyzing all of the data from the mission and will keep you updated on the progress through our blog. Stay tuned!
You can still hover over the breadcrumbs on the map above and track the exact path that Europa traveled over the last few months.
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 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.
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.