GRoW Grantees Unite in Sustainable Efforts to Aid Ocean Research and Preservation

7.15.21

GRoW Grantees Unite in Sustainable Efforts to Aid Ocean Research and Preservation

On Sunday, July 11, the Portuguese newspaper Público featured an article about a unique international partnership between two GRoW grantee organizations: Portugal-based Marine Environment Research Association (AIMM) and Massachusetts-based Ocean Alliance are dedicated to protecting marine species through sustainability and research.

Founded by Dr. Roger Payne — known as the father of modern whale conservation and research — Ocean Alliance focuses on the protection of whales, while AIMM's mission is broader marine research and conservation. Both organizations, however, are dedicated to protecting all marine mammals through scientific research and education. The teams met in July on Faial Island in the Azores to study a population of sperm whales native to that region. Ocean Alliance traveled from America with plenty of intellectual curiosity as well as a few SnotBots — drones that significantly assist in the organization's research processes. 

"Thanks to the vision of Ocean Alliance and Dr. Iain Kerr, marine mammal research is changing," said AIMM senior researcher André Cid. "It is possible that we will never again have to use invasive techniques such as biopsies to collect skin or fat samples when trying to determine things like sex or if the animal is contaminated with pollutants. The SnotBot is a new methodology, which has, until this day, been tested on nine different species of cetaceans, positively evolving marine mammal research and safeguarding animal welfare."