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Title: Chasing inter-species communication: what marine mammals are telling us about our oceans
Abstract I describe my path through a series of opportunities that provided stepping stones from childhood years in the landlocked US Midwest to a 45-year-long career focused on cetacean behaviour and ecology. My early interest in the ocean and dolphins led me to switch from majoring in journalism to biology during my undergraduate years. While pursuing a master’s degree focused on bioacoustics, I was employed as a contract scientist with the US Navy’s marine mammal laboratory. During 20 years there, my work ranged from dolphin calling behaviour to marine mammal distribution in Alaskan waters, culminating in a Ph.D. dissertation on cetacean habitats in the Alaskan Arctic. Subsequently, I enjoyed a 20-year career with the US NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. There, I developed and advanced the idea that marine mammals can act as sentinels of ocean variability. To interpret the messages that marine mammals convey about the ocean, we must broaden science discourse to include Indigenous Knowledge and lessons from the experiences of people whose livelihoods depend on the sea. My advice to students and young professionals is to follow your passion while seeking the perspectives of colleagues from a variety of disciplines and people from all cultures and backgrounds. Coupled with a healthy dose of luck, this approach worked for me.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Browman, Howard
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ICES Journal of Marine Science
Page Range / eLocation ID:
690 to 697
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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