Michelle Forte, Alaska, Glacier Bay discussed on 99% Invisible
What we know is that animals change their behavior when the ocean gets noisy Michelle Forte is an acoustic ecologist at Cornell. Every summer she travels to Glacier Bay. To drop a hydrophone in the water was an in on what the whales are saying and study being affected by ship noise this year. Michelle was preparing for her annual trip to go. When the CO bid nineteen shutdowns were announced so Friday. The thirteenth was the last day that we were allowed to be in the lab at work before we had to start sheltering in place and with that also met from my perspective was that my summer field season was cancelled that the trip to Alaska I was meant to take to go and do work with these animals wasn't going to happen. The Lab Cornell would also need to close and so all the scientists gathered together for a final in-person meeting to try to plan out how everyone was going to keep their research going from home. Michelle mentioned that the summer crew season would probably not even happen this year in Alaska at which point another person at the meeting broke in with a question and one of my colleagues and friends looked at me and she asked me you know. Are you listening in other words? Even if she couldn't go to see the wheels person was she's still planning on listening to them. And I realized I wasn't and and all of a sudden my my personal sentimental brain turned off in my biologist brain. Turn back on and an immediate flurry to get hydrophones. In the water ensued. In that Moment Michelle realized that although her research trip had been cancelled the grown virus shutdown had created an incredible opportunity for the first time in decades. The ocean would be quiet for an entire summer. And so what that means for somebody like me. As researcher is that we have the opportunity to listen to undisturbed behavior for the first time. Usually Michelle relies on quiet periods in an individual day to try to understand how ship noise changes will behavior. I get excited. We have six or seven hours of silence in the ocean. I built an entire dissertation around the fact that Glacier Bay is one of the few areas in the world where you can predictably have moment's silence and now what we have is months of silence so act. This is unheard up right after that final meeting the lab. Michelle started calling people in Alaska. Who can help her out? I had to call my best friend because all of make your lives in her garage and could she blowups buoy for me and Tyson. Line for me. If I could put a hydrophone which she'd be willing to attach it to a shack will passed off to someone else to put it on Anchor. Who would then get it onto a boat and drop it in the ocean. Eventually with the help of lots of people in Alaska. They got hydrophones into the water. Michelle is now set to record. An entire summer of whale sounds in strangely quiet seas..