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Whale whisperer Michelle Fournet partners with Ocean Victory's Alaska

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Dr. Michelle Fournet's research includes investigating how marine organisms use sound to facilitate vital life functions, the potential impact of noise on marine species and how sound can be used as an indicator of ecosystem health
American Queen Voyages partnered with Dr. Michelle Fournet, director of the Sound Science Research Collective, for the inaugural Alaska expedition season of Ocean Victory.

The acclaimed acoustic ecologist is a leading expert in the communication of North Pacific humpback whales, profiled along with her Sound Science Research Collective team in the documentary 'Fathom,' now streaming on Apple+.

Hydrophones on Zodiacs

Fournet and the Sound Science Research Collective will collaborate with the American Queen Voyages expedition team and California Polytechnic State University researchers as Ocean Victory becomes an extension of their research lab. Sound Science Collective hydrophones will be used on Zodiacs to listen to whales in real time.

Fluke identification

Travelers will also learn and participate in whale tracking through fluke identification by uploading their own photos from the vessel to a scientific database that follows their seasonal movements.  

'"Fathom" has brought so much attention to the sophisticated communication of humpback whales and we look forward to working with American Queen Voyages to share that research with guests,' Fournet said. 'Alaska is unlike any other place on earth, and spending time there is unique in that you’re able to peer right into the wilderness of the oceans while under the shadow of the mountains. There is no better way than on a boat to have that up-close experience.'

As behavioral ecologists that focus on acoustics, Fournet and the Sound Science Research Collective team use underwater sound to try to understand how marine mammals communicate and interpret the world.

Acoustic scientists on three voyages

Fournet will sail on Ocean Victory's May 6 maiden voyage from Vancouver, BC, to Sitka as she travels into the field for the summer. Fellow Sound Science Collective scientist Andy Rogan will join the June 17 voyage and Natalie Mastick will sail June 27 from Sitka to Vancouver.

Passengers will be active contributors to their research throughout the season as they learn first-hand from these scientists in a program that includes enriching lectures and thrilling expedition activities.

The Sound Science Research Collective is a marine conservation nonprofit dedicated to excellence in research. It is comprised of bio-acousticians and ecologists from throughout the US.

Bioacoustics as a conservation tool

Fournet's research includes investigating how marine organisms use sound to facilitate vital life functions, the potential impact of noise on marine species and how sound can be used as an indicator of ecosystem health. She is particularly interested in using bioacoustics as a tool to further conservation and to assess species’ resilience to a rapidly changing ocean.

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