Task 13: Mapping the Intersection of Whales and Ships

Award Period
Award Amount
Agency Name
Nature Conservancy
Award Number
SB200210-Task 13
PI First Name
PI Last Name
MSI People
Area/s of Research
Marine Conservation, Policy and Education


Whale-vessel collisions are a fatal threat to large whales worldwide that often go unreported or unnoticed and have been identified as one of the main contributing factors that threaten the recovery of endangered whale populations. Developing a worldwide hotspot analysis of whale and ship overlap will help identify areas of highest risk that can strategically guide global efforts to address this issue. This type of analysis will require stakeholder workshops, data sharing agreements, data collation and engineering, and extensive modelling efforts.

Work Summary and Deliverables

Note: The following assumes a September 1, 2021 start date for the postdoctoral scholar; timelines may shift according to accommodate a later start date

Objective 1. Identify relevant global whale data landscape.

Timeline: April 2021 - September 2021

Deliverable 1. Create a comprehensive list of whale habitat modelers and data sources/owners of relevant whale input data for the global risk model. Begin and maintain communication with stakeholders including project overview and workshop invitations and correspondence. During this landscape exercise, we will begin the data cleaning, standardization, and alignment of relevant publicly available dataset and have as many such datasets finalized and in hand for the first data whale workshop.

Objective 2. Whale Data Workshop

Timeline: September 2021

Deliverable 2: Organize and host a virtual workshop of identified key whale data stakeholders including all communication and invitation needs leading up to the meeting. Following the workshop, create, distribute, and compile results from google form or other medium for whale data sharers to describe potential data contributions.

Objective 3. Data Collation

September 2021 - November 2021

Deliverable 3. Create a data sharing agreement with non-public whale data owners with whom we request data from. Collate all data received and align appropriately for model needs based on advising from Dr. Briana Abrahms and the post doctoral scholar working under her direction. In addition to whale data, collate all global AIS data needed for the model from Global Fishing Watch.

Objective 4. Second Whale Data Workshop

November 2021

Deliverable 4. Organize and host a second workshop for modelers and core team members to visualize datasets and discuss data analysis approaches and challenges. Contingent on COVID-19 guidelines, this workshop could potentially be held in person at UCSB (please note that while meeting logistics services would be provided via the Statement of Work - actual travel costs for such a convening would need to be billed directly to TNC).

Objective 5. Continued Data Support

Timeline: November 2021- April 2022

Deliverable 5. Continue to support remaining data acquisition and alignment needs for the UW postdoc. Provide guidance and advice on data visualization and integration wherever applicable.