Mónica Almeida e Silva

What is your role in REP-15?

Together with colleagues from IMAR/DOP, I’m responsible for the overall scientific coordination of REP-15, setting up goals and scenarios for operations.

Tell us what your nominal day job is like and how is this different?

My daily work also requires a lot of planning and coordination, working at sea with large whales and dolphins, and good weather. Main challenge of REP is coordinating goals and work of such a large team.

What do you hope to accomplish in this experiment and what do you hope to take away from it?

I expect to gain a better understanding of the habitat preferences of pelagic predators; i.e, why whales, dolphins, sharks, tunas, and other marine predators choose to forage in some areas and not in others? What are the physical and biological characteristics of these preferred areas?

So far, what has been the most challenging aspect?

Aligning goals among sciences and scientists.

How does participating in this experiment help your longer term research goal(s)?

A better understanding of the potential and limitations of marine robotics to help answering my scientific questions.

 

Frederik Stendahl Leira

What is your role in REP-15?

My role in REP-15 is to operate NTNU's Thermal Gimbal UAV Payload. That includes software and hardware maintenance of the vehicle, as well as looking through the data that we collect using this payload during REP. Furthermore, I also help out the rest of the team whenever a situation arise.

Tell us what your nominal day job is like and how is this different?

 I am a PhD student at the Center for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems at NTNU, so my regular day consists of being in my office developing new algorithms to automatically detect and track objects using an UAV equipped with a thermal camera. I also try to write some papers from time to time. REP-15 is completely different from that, as now we are out in the field doing experiments and validating the theory that was developed in my office.

What do you hope to accomplish in this experiment and what do you hope to take away from it?

First of all I hope to go back home having gotten a lot of experience being out in the field with UAVs and a huge group of multidisciplinary scientists. Furthermore, collecting some thermal video data of boats, whales and other fish would be extremely cool!

So far, what has been the most challenging aspect? ​

​So far the most challenging aspect has been to plan such a huge operation with so many different people. Also, making all the hardware work as it should has of course also not been especially easy!

How does participating in this experiment help your longer term research goal(s)?

If everything goes as planned, I will get valuable data which can be used for my PhD. I can use this data to develop new algorithms relevant to my research, as well as verify algorithms that has already been designed. Getting actual experimental data would help me tremendously!