Here are several examples of the unique and innovative solutions we have brought to US and global research, conservation, and sustainable management of our marine, ocean, and coastal resources.
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.”
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.”
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. Our work is helping ensure poke bowls stay filled with sustainable tuna now and into the future!
Lynker spearheaded the development and implementation of NOAA Fisheries’ new ESA Section 7 Mapper, an interactive, GIS-driven visualization tool NOAA scientists, federal action agencies, and the general public can use to help identify ESA-listed species and critical habitats in project action areas along the East Coast. We designed and implemented new GIS datasets for each Section 7 Consultation Area, locating where and when ESA-listed species (sturgeons, salmon, whales, turtles) of a given life stage (adult, juveniles, larvae, etc.) are found exhibiting relevant behaviors (migrating, foraging, spawning, rearing, calving) along major waterways and marine zones. The resulting interactive web map application allows Action Agencies to draw a project site, determine which Consultation Areas overlap, and generate a detailed report, expediting the process of determining whether further consultation with NOAA Fisheries is necessary. Lynker’s ESA Section 7 Mapper will reduce the number of unnecessary consultation requests and to improve the quality and accuracy of necessary consultation requests. This easy-to-use mapping interface achieves those goals by publishing our agency’s current understanding of where the best available data dictates consultations are recommended.
Said the NOAA Federal project lead “This is some VERY GOOD news. Congrats to all who worked so hard on making this happen. I am quite excited to see how this goes and how this mapping tool helps our action agencies.”
Click here to access the mapper from the NOAA website.
- 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 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 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.
Lynker developed a Vessel Maintenance Program (VMP), a web-based application, for NOAA designed primarily 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 comprehensive scientific, technical, and programmatic support to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Pacific Islands Region (PIR). As ONMS’ single awardee on this broadly scoped contract, our team meets the management, administrative, education and outreach, scientific research, information technology, and facilities maintenance requirements for three National Marine Sanctuaries – the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM, also a World Heritage Site and the the largest designated marine protecte area in the world); the Hawaiian IslandsHumpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS); and the National Marine Sanctuary Of American Samoa (NMSAS). Lynker also supports the ONMS International Marine Protected Areas Capacity Building Program (IMPACBP), whose mission it is to educate and collaborate with non-US partners to help communities put into place practices and activities designed to sustain fisheries and habitats.
Lynker’s Chart Tile Service (CTS) project demonstrates our ability to bring innovative solutions using emerging technologies. Lynker began an NOS/OCS internally-funded mobile application demonstration project in 2011 that eventually evolved into the highly visible CTS infrastructure initiative, which has added tremendous value to NOAA in terms of reducing redundancies, streamlining secure data sharing, and improving overall quality of NOAA charting products. As critical, CTS has also met NOAA’s mission goal of increasing the usefulness, accuracy, and availability of its services to a wide range of stakeholders, many of whose businesses, safety, and livelihoods depend on MCD’s outputs.
CTS completed its successful first public release in December 2015. One user on Facebook happily reported that “I’m super-impressed with the NOAA developers (Lynker employees)” Lynker helped OCS recognize an opportunity to increase the value of existing chart products and services to thousands of stakeholders, leveraging cloud and mobile technologies.
Lynker provides outstanding program, outreach and education, and operational support for the 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.
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 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.
Lynker earned a Small Business Solution of the Year in 2015 award for our work on the CTS. Read more about our success here.