My name is Jurgen Schwanecke. I'm a year 12 student at Rathkeale college in the wairarapa. Me and a group of friends are part of a business group known as Maui Dolphin T-shirts. we are selling t-shirts that have critically endangered Maui Dolphin on them. We plan to donate 50% of our profits to the NZwhale&dolphin trust. We would immensely appreciate the support for our cause to help protect the Maui Dolphin.
You can learn more at Maui Tee project face book page
We've been out in the Canyons again! This time, we wanted to take our ongoing study of the remarkable Otago Canyons a step further, and try to understand what makes these locations such great habitat for marine mammals and seabirds. We figured, surely it's about prey. So, during five days in June we ran hydro-acoustic (echo-sounder) surveys along the Otago shelf, to see if there was something particular about the Canyons in terms of the prey community. We used a multibeam echosounder from University of Otago and a great split beam fisheries system kindly loaned from NIWA New Zealand. Both these systems have lower source levels and higher frequencies than those that may have negative impacts on marine mammals. Prey in these deep areas consists mainly of mesopelagic (midwater) fish and squid that form part of the great 'deep scattering layer'. Mesopelagic communities form one of the largest biomass on earth, with some estimates suggesting they contribute up to 95% of all fish biomass in the sea! These communities are really important for sustaining fisheries, for recycling nutrients, taking up carbon and of course, as prey for top-predators. Despite all this, mesopelagic communities aren't very well understood. During our first round of surveys we had great success in finding some enormous aggregations of prey. We had our usual marine mammal and seabird monitoring teams on board, so that we can match the distribution of these predators to what we think they're eating out there. As usual, we saw tons of amazing wildlife; sperm whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, dusky dolphins, fur seals and at least 25 species of seabird. After another round of survey in January, we'll crunch the numbers and see if we can figure out what makes these canyons so special. Thanks to the field crew; Will Rayment, Tom Brough, Trudi Webster, Chris Lalas, Graham Loh, the great team on the Polaris II and University of Otago for funding our canyon work. Check out some pics from the trips... ... See MoreSee Less