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

Pacific Islands Region Observer Program Support

Lynker provides the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Region, full operational support services for the Pacific Islands Region Observer Program (PIROP), including the recruitment, selection, supervision, and outfitting of all sea-going personnel needed to fulfill federal fisheries obligations of the program. The PIROP currently includes the Hawaii deep-set tuna and shallow-set swordfish longline fleets, and the longline fleets of American Samoa. We support NMFS’ obligation to monitor and to obtain estimates of the incidental take of sea turtles, sea birds, marine mammals, other protected species, and other by-catch in the pelagic, groundfish and other fisheries that fall under federal jurisdiction. We provide observer coverage aboard vessels with federal fishing permits as required by the “reasonable and prudent measures” (RPMs) and terms and conditions of the Incidental Take Statement (ITS) of the NMFS biological opinion on the effects on federally-listed threatened and endangered species of pelagic fisheries managed under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region. 

 

GIS Support for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Lynker provides outstanding program, outreach and education, and operational support for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Our GIS Specialists manage thousands of data layers representing physical and biological data for the ocean. We use data compiled by local, state and federal agencies as well as stakeholders and ensure that the data has the necessary metadata so that we can track the origin and data caveats. We validate the data by overlaying it on other data to ensure management decisions are based on the right spatial and temporal scales. When outliers are identified, we contact the creator of the GIS data to ensure that it is correct.

Often, we receive data that is not GIS ready and we create GIS data layers and corresponding metadata so that the data can be viewed with other GIS data. When large novel products are completed, we present the GIS processing aspect of the project at international meetings and/or develop peer-reviewed articles with ESRI story maps which are important communication and outreach tools engaging our stakeholders. We have also created ArcGIS online data projects for staff to use which provides them with power to look at spatial data.

Within the Sanctuary system, all other permit coordinators have to rely on GIS specialists for spatial analyses and mapping but we have staff that can quickly create a wide variety of GIS products in support of permits, which makes it much more time efficient and correct. As part of the team that conducted a deep sea lost fishing gear removal project, and in addition to successfully identifying locations where the gear could be found by incorporating GIS data created from database data received from partners, we were able to utilize the ROV navigating system within a few hours, making Lynker a valuable team member ONMS.

Lynker provides Science Operations Division with Cutting Edge IT/Robotics Support

The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) Science Operations Division (SOD) deploys the Modular Optical Underwater Survey System (MOUSS) to estimate species-specific, size-structured abundance of commercially-important fish species in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands Region. Lynker has supported this project now on two tasks. We have performed MOUSS-BotCam comparison studies, a MOUSS technical assessment study, an inter-comparison of MaxN and MeanCount study, an assessment of MOUSS synchronization offset study, and built a MOUSS photo library for various species. In order to obtain accurate fish population estimates over the full range of bottomfish habitat, we test and incorporate new artificial LED light technology on selected MOUSS units to enable fish behavior studies as a function of wavelength to increase depth of successful video surveys and add night capabilities. These studies will help tackle various unknowns in stock assessment and distribution of this knowledge within NOAA, and also to the research community and public via publications in relevant open access journals.

PIRO Directorate for Communications Support and Website Redesign

Lynker supports the Directorate for Communications by working closely with the PIRO Communications and External Affairs Officer and communications team to design, produce, and coordinate media and messaging across multiple channels, including but not limited to:

  • graphic design/visualization
  • web/social media content development and distribution (fpir.gov, Facebook, Twitter)
  • scientific technical writing and editing
  • outreach and education efforts

Our team has been instrumental in updating and enhancing the PIRO Style Guide, driving the PIRO and PIFSC website redesign, and identifying opportunities for making the site more interactive through the use of streaming live and recorded audio/visual (e.g., Okeanos feeds), chat, maps, and other methods. Our team’s outstanding work was recognized both internally at NOAA as well as externally: we recently won 2018 Acquia Engage Award for our contribution to the website and content migration and enhancement effort.

We also serve as the Directorate’s primary technical writer and videographer. Our personnel’s articles and documentary shorts are regular feature stories in the NMFS Weekly Newsletter and NMFS website (fisheries.noaa.gov).

Lynker Education and Outreach Specialist Awarded Grand Prize

Lynker employee, Peggy Foreman, was awarded the Grand Prize for her photo entry in the inaugural NOAA Education Photo Contest. See her winning photo below. Congrats Peggy!

6th grade students from Sacred Hearts Academy got first hand experience learning about limu (algae) in their watershed. They learned which species were native and which ones were alien and invasive. However, there is joy and satisfaction when a student wants to confirm that they have correctly identified a species as not to mistake and remove the wrong species. For many of these students, they have eaten limu but this was their first time learning about their role in the ecosystem and why removing the invasive species is critical for the nearshore habitat and barrier reefs that protect their shore and community.

Credit: Malama Maunalua and/or parent chaperone from Sacred Hearts Academy
Submitted by Peggy Foreman (NMFS)

Interactive StoryMap of the Remote Pacific – NOW LIVE

Kudos to Lynker’s Senior Science Writer/Videographer, Joey Bennington-Castro, for the launch of the Historical & Cultural Seascape of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument!

Here’s a link to it: https://arcg.is/1uCzzf

Joey created the StoryMap, using ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and the StoryMap Map Journal app. He and our NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region Office Communications team are working on getting it on the NOAA Fisheries website.

It’s fully interactive, so you can move around the map on the right-hand side, and the map and its content slightly changes as you move through the story. Also, all the links within the story will either change the content on the right side or take you to a different spot in the story.
Mike Tosatto, PIRO Regional Director, called it “great (as usual!)”.
According to Joey, “It was a beast of a project to work on but very satisfying in the end, and there have been calls for more such products in the future.”
Awesome work!

Another great article about Endangered Species in Hawaii

Lynker’s Senior Science Writer, Joseph Bennington-Castro, has yet another great story picked up by multiple outlets – the New York Post and News Australia! Check out to the stories below, and learn more about the importance of maintaining a safe distance from wildlife.

New York Post
Tourist fined for harassing endangered animals in Hawaii
https://nypost.com/…/tourist-fined-for-harassing-endangere…/

News Australia
Photo that caught out tourist in Hawaii
https://www.news.com.au/…/…/2ee0772a6767d42d0020b35f1462381e

Lynker honored with 2018 Acquia Engage Award

Lynker’s Pacific Islands Regional Office communications team receives the 2018 Acquia Engage Award. Mobomo announced it was selected along with NOAA Fisheries as the winner of the 2018 Acquia Engage Awards for the Leader of the Pack: Public Sector for the new NOAA Fisheries Website. Lynker employees Jessica Tuifagu and Melanie Jordan handled all the design, information architecture, and content for the public site. The Acquia Engage Awards recognize the world-class digital experiences that organizations are building with the Acquia Platform. Visit the new NOAA Fisheries Website here.

NOAA Fisheries PIFSC Bottomfish Assessment IDIQ

Lynker is partnering with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group (PIFG) on a 5-year, $3.6 million contract to conduct Independent Survey Sampling of Bottomfish in the four Main Hawaiian Islands (Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau) under NMFS’ Cooperative Research Program (CRP).

Our support includes surveying over 300 individual sites, gear calibration, bio-sampling, and fish tagging. In addition to collecting data and specimens, our team is actively involved in local fishing community outreach and education efforts, working with the CRP to inform vessel owners, commercial and recreational fishermen, fishing clubs, and fishing organizations about how NMFS’ bottomfish-related research helps sustain and protect valuable fishing resources throughout the islands. We are proud to contribute to scientific and technical efforts as well as help drive a more collaborative approach to fisheries management in the Pacific.

NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region Observer Program (PIROP)

Lynker is the single awardee for this program, the largest of all US Federal fisheries observer programs ($34 million over 5 years). This contract adds 60 additional qualified personnel to our team, who serve as biologists and data collectors/analysts onboard longline (tuna) and shortset (swordfish – to reopen this year) fishing vessels in the Pacific. We are deeply honored to have been selected to support the program, especially as it embraces new tools, technologies, and processes for data collection, monitoring, and reporting in the region.