Thursday, April 21, 2016

Interveiw with Adam! Graduate Researcher & Student Resident on Coconut Island

Meet Adam, he is a graduate researcher and student resident here on Coconut Island with the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. His main area of focus is marine mammal’s use of sound, their hearing capabilities and bio sonar. 

Adam | Graduate Researcher & Student Resident

According to Adam, “Bio Sonar is the emission of an acoustic signal and the reception of the signal echoing off an object in the environment. The animals use that echo to visualize their surroundings; kind of like seeing with sound.” 
He focuses on the Risso’s Dolphin; they can be found all over the world in tropical oceans, including Hawai'i.  The Risso’s dolphin is unique because it has a crease on its forehead. It’s the only species that has this feature; Adam strives to research how this crease could affect its acoustics. Often, when characteristics evolve on the head of a marine mammal, it relates to some unique feature or ability specific to the creature

Why should the community be excited about your research?
Adam’s research will aid conservation and technology! 

“The noise we create affects the ocean mammals. Humans don’t understand if too much noise negatively affects creatures in the ocean.” Through Adam's research we will better understand our environmental impacts

He is interested in testing untrained mammals.

“Measuring the hearing of a beached animal is a great way to get an understanding if noise could have impacted the animal’s stranding.” For example, Adam was able to travel to Philippines to measure the hearing of stranded animals. It was found that they were completely deaf; something that could have been caused by dynamite fishing. It gave locals insight into a growing problem.

His research can also aid military technology through the use of sonar. 

“Humans are nowhere near replicating the amazing capabilities these animals have, they are unmatched to anything we have today. The natural sonar of a dolphin is significantly greater than man made technology. Understanding these animals would open up a magnitude of opportunities for technology.” 

What is your end goal?
“Understanding why and how the crease evolved on the dolphin’s head would provide great insight to research. We don’t know why marine mammals evolved bio sonar. There are different reasons why certain animals have bio sonar, like bats for example, but humans have yet to fully understand marine mammal’s capabilities.”

What is your most memorable experience at Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology? 
Dolphins can see with sound essentially, and viewing their behaviors is amazing to Adam. 

“Watching the animals each day has proven how incredible these mammals’ capabilities are; and how much we still have to learn!”

Interviewed By: Miranda Chilelli 

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