Lynker serves as lead scientist for the Environmental Fisheries Sciences Division (EFS), Ecotoxicology Program in conducting studies on oil spill and urban stormwater impacts on the health of marine forage fish in Puget Sound (Pacific herring, sand lance, and surf smelt) and other nearshore species (e.g., juvenile flatfish). We maintain the water intake and filtration system at the field station, have built and managed systems that grow herring, surf smelt, rockfish, salmon and lamprey and have developed methods and materials to raise surf smelt larvae in captivity using enriched live feeds and green water techniques. Preparing, operating and maintaining the facility and water systems for culture of larval fish food and organisms, our work directly contributes to NOAA’s understanding of the effects of oil and petroleum-based pollutants on marine fish at various life stages, informing environmental policy to limit exposure to toxins across the Puget Sound.
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For the Alaska Fisheries Science Center‘s Resource Assessment and Conservation and Engineering (RACE) Division, Lynker’s senior scientists assess deep-sea coral and sponge communities via at-sea investigations, image analysis and taxonomic research and their role in providing Essential Fish Habitat to groundfish and invertebrates. Our scientists also investigate species interactions and associations, the types of impacts fishing gear can have on benthic habitats and habitat related factors that influence fisheries productivity. In collaboration with our colleagues at NOAA, Lynker helps RACE measure the distribution and abundance of commercially important fish and crab stocks in the eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Island and Gulf of Alaska, resources estimated at nearly $4.5 billion a year.
Lynker provides comprehensive scientific, technical, and programmatic support to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Pacific Islands Region (PIR). Our team supports the management, administrative, education and outreach, scientific research, information technology, and facilities maintenance requirements for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS), headquartered in the Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu, HI, with key locations (including a visitors’ center) in Kihei, Maui, HI and Lihue, Kauai, HI. Our team also provides such support services to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), headquartered in Pago Pago, American Samoa with seven sites spread over three
islands and two atolls, the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center; the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Sanctuary and Monument (PNMS/PMNM), headquartered in the Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu, HI with an office in Lihue, Kauai, HI and the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo, Hawai‘i Island, HI; and the ONMS International MPA Capacity Building Program (IMPACBP), located in Silver Spring, MD.
Lynker developed a web-based application Vessel Maintenance Program (VMP) to manage National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) vessel maintenance related information, enforce the maintenance workflow, and provide communication tools for the boat operation/maintenance team within regional boat operation teams as well as across the NMFS. The VMP was developed in Oracle Application Express (APEX), a web application platform with the Oracle database management system and is hosted from the NOAA headquarter office.
The VMP system features were created to support 5 main objectives:
- Effective and efficient communication
- Automated notifications
- Management tool for resource managers and maintenance managers
- Standardized data and workflow
- User-friendly design
The development of VMP at the national level is motivated by an effort to provide boat operation management teams with tools to keep track of maintenance information, offer easily accessible communicative tools, and to create standardized workflow, protocols and reporting systems for resource managers.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Information Resource Management (IRM) division at GARFO is responsible for the development and maintenance of the technological infrastructure needed for fisheries management and provides GIS data and analyses both internally and externally. Lynker provides technical help desk support to GIS users, documenting and tracking GIS service needs to recognize patterns in performance. Lynker resolves over 1000 help desk tickets per month, supporting 250 internal and all external users on the east coast. Lynker and GARFO are currently collaborating to consolidate help desks into enterprise user support centers. Using HDI, ITIL, and ISO best practices we are establishing service level objectives and tying specific service level agreements (SLAs) to drive quality performance.
The Office of Coast Survey (OCS) provides navigation products and information for transportation safety. Lynker provides Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management support, helping OCS effectively manage their entire portfolio of projects. Lynker began by creating the structure to support the establishment of an enterprise level PMO. We then developed an innovative portfolio management and project life-cycle process supported by a SharePoint-based dashboard to provide OCS with portfolio level insight. The interactive dashboard has enabled overall IT improvement, mission alignment, investment review, value measurement and decision making. The dashboard has been adopted across OCS on more than 100 projects.