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Madagascar Project Team


On the ground making it happen

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Madagascar Project Team


On the ground making it happen

Sal thinking about the world of Omura's whales...

Salvatore Cerchio, PhD - Project Leader

Dr. Cerchio has been working in Madagascar since 2004, studying cetaceans from humpback whales to coastal dolphins to Omura’s whales.  He has been studying cetaceans for 36 years around the world. Currently he is a visiting Scientist with the New England Aquarium and Guest Investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

 
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Tahina Rasoloarijao - Tahina first worked with Sal in 2010 on a research sailing expedition along Madagascar's west coast from Toliara to Mahajanga. He joined the Omura's whale project in 2014 and is currently conducting his DEA through IHSM.

Boat Pilots - Christian “Gozy” Tombozafy, Joa and Yanis - Boat Pilots Extraordinaire.  Gozy Joa and Yanis grew up in Nosy Be and the nearby Nosy Komba, with the ocean of Madagascar all around him.  They are skilled pilots and know the cetaceans and marine life of the Nosy Be region. Gozy has worked with Dr. Cerchio since 2008, Joa joined the team in 2016 & 2017, and Yanis in 2018.

Silas Hughes and Devynn Diggins - key members of partner Point Road Solutions, Silas and Devynn joined the team in 2018 to lead the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS or drone) component of the project. Both Silas and Devynn are graduates of Olin College of Engineering under Andrew Bennett, and are skilled in the development and piloting of UASs.

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Danielle Cholewiak, PhD - Behavioral biologist and bioacoustician, working at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Danielle has been studying cetaceans for over 20 years and joined the Madagascar Omura's Whale Project in 2015.

Bridget Mueller-Brennan - Bridget started working with the Omura's whale project in the summer of 2017, as an intern through the NOAA Hollings Scholar Program at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. She's combining her math skills and her acoustic training to model the singing rates of Omura's whales. She is finishing her Bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois and continues to work on the acoustic data for the Omura's whale project in her spare time.

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Project Partners


Providing essential support for data collection and analyses

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Project Partners


Providing essential support for data collection and analyses

New England Aquarium Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life - As a visiting scientist with the ACCOL, Sal has received institutional support from the NEAq, who have helped to manage funding and raise awareness about the Madagascar Omura’s whale project.

Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines (IHSM)  - The University of Toliara's marine institute, Sal has been working with colleagues at IHSM since 2004. Dr. Jamal Mahafina is the director of IHSM and is generously helping to facilitate the project. Dr. Norbert Andrianarivelo was previously a student with Sal and works extensively on marine research in Madagascar, and is now a project partner.

Forever Dive - Run by Sylvia Trelanche, this dive charter group based in Madirokely provides logistic support for field work as well as exuberance and endless inspiration.

Madagascar Centre National de Recherches Océanographiques (CNRO) – The National Center for Oceanographic Research in Madagascar, based in Nosy Be, our local Malagasy scientific partners on site.

Globice Reunion - Partnering with Violaine Dulau to acoustically monitor for humpback whales along the west coast of Madagascar.

Point Road Solutions - Created and lead by Andrew Bennett, previously the lead of a robotics lab at Olin College of Engineering, PR Solutions provides innovation engineering for researchers and scientists. The Madagascar Omura’s Project is a fortunate recipient of drone technology they develop.

Sofie van Parijs, PhD – Lead of the Passive Acoustics Group at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole, MA.  Sofie is participating in and supporting the bioacoustic research on Omura’s whales in Madagascar.

MadaMegaFauna Association – Dedicated to marine mammal conservation, outreach and education in the Nosy Be region, created by Tanguy & Arthur Guillemain d’Echon and Elina Sourisseau, also co-owners of Les Baleines Rand’eau.  Their members and affiliates provide logistic support and facilitate the collection of data from platforms of opportunity throughout the year.

Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) / Acoustic Tracking Array Platform (ATAP) - Starting in 2019, we will be partnering with Paul Cowley and the OTN/ATAP to acoustically for tagged pelagic fishes, such as bull and tiger sharks.


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Previous Team Members and PARTNERS


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Previous Team Members and PARTNERS


Boris Andrianantenaina, DEA -  Boris studied cetaceans with Sal in Madagascar from 2010-2016, receiving his Masters degree (DEA) from the IHSM Universite de Toliara. He worked on the Omura's whale project, as well as projects studying humpback whales and humpback dolphins. He now works with Conservation International in Madagascar.

Alec Lindsay, PhD – Professor at Northern Michigan University.  Alec’s research interests include evolution, animal behavior and conservation predominantly with birds, but works with the Madagascar Omura’s Whale Project leading genetic analyses.

Sandra Dorning - Sandra was an Omura's whale project intern in the summer of 2016, through the NOAA Hollings Scholar program and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. She worked on passive acoustic data, helping to describe Omura's whale song.  Sandra graduated from the University of Oregon's Robert D. Clark Honors College in 2017, was accepted as a 2018 Marshall Scholar! Sandra is planning to study marine environmental management and environmental policy.


FUNDING & SUPPORT


The following institutions have generously contributed to the project since 2015:

Inspired citizens have also helped to support this project, and you can too!