Solution specific articles for Marine, Ocean, Coastal, Science & Information.

Lynker Sucks: The AlgaeVac Project

Lynker Sucks… invasive alien algae off a coral reef in Maunalua Bay, Oahu 

Lynker has partnered with non-profit stewardship organization, Mālama Maunalua (MM), to remove several species of invasive alien algae (IAA) in Maunalua Bay. Mālama Maunalua has continuously monitored the IAA: Gorilla Ogo, Leather Mudweed, and Prickly Seaweed, in the Paiko Restoration Area to help measure and keep track of the effectiveness of the huki (hand removal) program. And now thanks to a National Fish and Wildlife Grant, Lynker has partnered with MM to take this restoration effort to the next level.

Using an aquatic vacuum pump system mounted on a kayak barge (the AquaVac), Lynker technicians are removing the IAA from areas further from shore than what was accessible to the huki program, increasing the restoration area. Teams of at least four Lynker technicians go out in the bay when the tide is appropriately low and use the AlgaeVac to suck up the invasive species. The algae is then bagged and transported to local farmers in the same ahupua‘a, or traditional land division, to use as fertilizer. We expect to have our technicians removing IAA for 100 days over the next six months.

Lynker bioacoustician helps NOAA deepen and enhance our understanding of humpback whales and their habitats in the Monument

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) Research Specialist and Lynker employee Eden Zang served as lead bioacoustician on a two week expedition to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) aboard research vessel Searcher (searcherhawaii.com). The mission focused on the deployment of five acoustic recorders in various locations across PMNM as well as a planned recovery of one acoustic recorder at Maro Reef that was  deployed in October 2018. In addition, Lynker will help document and interpret the overall research process for future use in Sanctuary education and outreach efforts.
The passive acoustic recorder packages will help NOAA study the presence and distribution of humpback whales in PMNM waters. Our personnel will also help monitor additional biological and anthropogenic sources of sound that contribute to the soundscape of the Greater Pacific region. These recorders are part of the national NOAA/SanctSound project examining soundscapes across seven national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument. This program is a continuation of ongoing monitoring and research and will help NOAA measure sound levels and characterize acoustic conditions in sanctuaries.
For more information about our research efforts, contact NOAA Federal program lead Marc Lammers at Marc.Lammers@noaa.gov.
Significance: Advances the management plan’s objective to deepen and enhance understanding of humpback whales and their habitat by exploring the way humpback whales in the central North Pacific Ocean utilize different areas in waters off Hawaiʻi.

PIROP Legend Michael Clark – 3,400 sea days and counting

Lynker’s Michael Clark is a Pacific Islands Region Observer Program (PIROP) legend, having recently completed his 3,400th sea day in May 2019 – some quick math will tell you that “Uncle Mike” has spent almost 10 years of his life on board Hawaiian longline (tuna) fishing vessels contributing to NOAA’s understanding of commercial fishing effort, endangered species population dynamics, and other scientific research in the Pacific.

When not at sea, Mike enjoys watching football with his family. It’s only appropriate that his favorite team happens to be the one with a marine mammal as a mascot.

To commemorate Mike’s achievement, Lynker presented Mike (at the left, with Lynker Vice President Liz Tarquin) with a Dan Marino-autographed jersey at a small gathering of fellow observers, friends, and colleagues at NOAA’s new Inouye Research Center on Ford Island on June 17, 2019.  

Uncle Mike started observing on 2002. His spirit, work ethic, tenacity, and reliability have made him a legend within the observer and fishing communities. He has also become an exceptional mentor and resource for new observers entering the program.

When asked, what’s kept him going for so long, Mike humbly says, “Every trip is different, you always learn and see something new! My dream was always to be a marine biologist, and this job has gotten me there, and I love it!”

Mike is always ready to talk story. A man with an easy laugh and a quick smile, we are lucky to have him. Mahalo Nui Loa, Uncle Mike.

On behalf of all our Lynker staff here in Hawaii, we wish Uncle Mike continued success on the sea, and many mahalos for his years of hard work in challenging conditions.

Lynker Helms Electronic Monitoring Success in the Pacific Longline (Tuna) Fishery


Lynker employee, Josh Tucker (pictured on the left with a member of the Teem Fish implementation team), a former NOAA Pacific Islands Region fisheries observer, has taken his hobby of building computers to the fishing industry! Lykner has teamed with NZ technology company SnapIT and Canadian fisheries innovation social enterprise
Teem Fish on a National Fish and Wildlife Federation (NFWF)-funded to pilot advanced EM solutions in the Hawaii longline (tuna) fishery. Josh learned to install and configure SnapIT’s innovative, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled camera systems, and which Lynker and Teem Fish deployed on five commercial longline vessels participating in the pilot program – in just under three weeks.

“To be honest, I love this,” Josh said in describing the experience, “Every boat is its own giant puzzle, and making something like this work is so satisfying.”

As part of the pilot, Lynker is collaborating with SnapIT to collect, troubleshoot, and assess the value of fixed and 360-degree technology to the fishing industry and science. With our first video now captured, Josh will turn his expertise in species identification to help train the machine learning algorithms to recognize fishing activity and other important indicators such as fish age, weight, sex, distribution, and bycatch.  Josh, a new father, is thrilled to be able to be involved in the fishery while being able to remain home to raise his son, Locke. “Aside from the lack of sleep, being home with my family is much better than being at sea.” All parents can relate.

Josh has also been a thoughtful ambassador for the project, communicating the goals to captains and crews. Said Captain Craig Yeackel (pictured to the right of Josh), “I wouldn’t be doing this if it was anyone else, this is a favor to you guys, we trust you guys.”

Thanks to Josh, our partners SnapIT and Teem Fish, and all the volunteer vessel owners and captains, we are off to a successful start with much promise ahead for EM to improve how fishermen record catching effort and scientists ensure we have plenty of poke to fill our bowls now and into the future!

About SnapIT – Snap Information Technologies partners with organizations to deliver images and video effortlessly to customers, helping them to get on with your work effectively, while we focus on distributing those images of the world, to the world.

About TeemFish – TeemFish Monitoring is a Canadian social enterprise focused on empowering local fisheries with world-class innovation. TeemFish collaborates with private industry, governments, and communities to design and deliver efficient and effective electronic fisheries monitoring programs worldwide.

 

Lynker’s PMNM Native Hawaiian Program voyages to National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa for cultural exchange

In early April 2019, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) Native Hawaiian Program Specialist Kalani Quiocho (pictured far right, with symposium participants) visited American Samoa to support and participate in the first every Fautasi Heritage Symposium, co-hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) and the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office, which was held a the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center.

The two-day symposium highlighted Samoan heritage of the fautasi watercraft and included perspectives about Hawaiian canoe heritage to carry an overall message that the canoe is the vessel that contains our cultural values and continues to empower our communities in the Pacific.

Through this exchange, and having culture at the forefront, PMNM and NMSAS staff were able to discuss ways that our sites could support one another and experience firsthand by meeting with NMSAS partners such as the National Park of American Samoa and the village community of Aunuʻu Island, which is part of the NMSAS Aunuʻu Sanctuary Unit.

For more information, contact Kalani.Quiocho@noaa.gov , Native Hawaiian Program Specialist.

Significance: Fautasi heritage in American Samoa is part of a larger cultural seascape that is rooted in Pacific Island traditions that allow our communities to access healthy and sustainable pathways for people and place. Through these collaborative site exchanges we connect to our vast ocean heritage.

Lynker Makes a Big Splash at Oahu Elementary School’s Career Day

Lynker’s Observer Program Port Coordinator, Erin Emanuel, made a big splash at the Keoneula Elementary School Career Day, held May 10, 2019. Erin was one of 30 guest speakers sharing what they do with over 170 third graders (including Erin’s twins) and hosting tables and demonstrations in the cafeteria. Erin’s talk and table focused on marine science, and included life sized models of turtles, fish, and birds found in the Greater Pacific as well as the gear scientists use to capture and record interactions, behaviors, and other information about marine species and their habitats in and around Hawaii.

 

The biggest hit was Erin’s ocean safety suit demonstration – as part of at-sea survival training, Lynker marine scientists like Erin must be able to put on these life-saving suits in less than one minute. Everyone at the event will definitely need more practice!

 

Erin said, “I basically explained my job as a Lynker observer. It was a blast!” Lynker believes it is never too early to inspire the next generation of marine scientists!

Hydrophone Retrieval for the Hawaiian Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

HIHWNMS Research Specialist Eden Zang (contractor with Lynker Technologies) and UH Manoa recovered three acoustic recorders in the waters off Maui and Kauai. The recorders had been deployed since November/December 2018. These passive acoustic recorder packages were deployed in order to study the presence and distribution of humpback whales in sanctuary waters.
Great work Eden!

U.S. Coral Reef Task Force – Translating Resilience-based Management from Theory to Practice in Hawaii

Lynker is at the forefront of helping local marine coastal managers understand how to apply resilience-building tools to better predict coral reef health, climate change impacts, and bleaching events. These invaluable inputs will enable managers to improve methods for protecting herbivorous fishes through herbivore management areas – and how they could repurpose and/or refine existing management strategies to accommodate long-term resilience building.

Our team led an in-depth assessment of global guidance on coral reef resilience and distilled it into specific recommendations for local managers looking to improve resilience in Hawaii. Working in collaboration with researchers, policy makers, and managers, we helped develop design principles for the strategic placement of a herbivore management area network as a resilience-building tools. We modified existing principles from the design of no-take area networks and then applied the guidance to a case study in the Main Hawaiian Islands. As a final step, we used Hawaii-specific design principles to lead a spatial analysis, which identified specific areas within west Hawaii and Maui Nui where a herbivore management areas could lead to greater resilience.

Lynker Awarded First Two ProTech Fisheries Domain Task Orders

Lynker is the awardee of the first two task orders under the ProTech Fisheries Domain vehicle. Lynker will support multiple requirements for NMFS Sustainable Fisheries, Division, and Protected Species Division, and West Coast Region under these new awards, valued at approximately $9 million over 5 years.

Lynker is proud to serve NOAA Fisheries and excited for this opportunity to add value early in the ProTech Fisheries Domain.

Lynker Awarded NOAA Office for Coastal Management Contract

Lynker is proud to have launched on March 1, 2019, a new contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management (OCM).

Under this wide-ranging contract, Lynker is supporting NOAA’s efforts to provide products and services in four principal areas of marine and coastal conservation:

  1. Federal and state combined coastal management policy implementation through the National Coastal Zone Management partnership
  2. Estuarine science and conservation through the National Estuarine Research Reserve program
  3. Coral reef science and conservation efforts under the Coral Reef Conservation Program
  4. Coastal management data, tools, and training for user communities under the new Digital Coast Partnership.

Our employees are located throughout the coastal U.S. and Territories, with the highest concentration in Charleston, South Carolina.

We are proud to serve the lifecycle needs of NOAA and OCM, focused on providing outstanding science and geospatial services, learning and training services, information generation and distribution, policy and planning support, coastal stewardship, business operations, and regional office coordination that helps ensure the vitality, sustainability, and value of our nation’s coastlines, coastal waterways, and ecosystems.