Dr Virginia Andrews-Goff: BSc (Hons), PhD
I am a marine mammal research scientist at the Australian Marine Mammal Centre of the Australian Antarctic Division. I undertake research and provide scientific and technical advice to conserve and manage whales. I focus on the movement of whales by analysing data transmitted by satellite tags. I use these movements to characterise important habitat and to reveal how whales move through and use their environment. This information is critical to the data-driven management and conservation of whales, especially as populations continue to recover post-whaling, and increasingly face new threats such as vessel strike, fishery entanglement and climate-mediated variability in the marine environment.
I have spent much time in Antarctica working at sea and on the continent. I have had the privilege to work on Antarctic flying birds and penguins, I have satellite tagged many Weddell seals, spent much time as a cetacean visual observer, and I am the only person to have ever attached a satellite tag to an Antarctic blue whale. My PhD, and the research positions that followed, allowed me to specialise in remote field work and to transfer my seal and seabird based analysis of satellite telemetry data to whales. My focus now is on two major research projects within the Antarctic program on Antarctic blue whales and other Antarctic baleen whales. Recently, this research has taken on a strong and exciting multidisciplinary angle as my team has started to look at predator-prey interactions by characterising krill swarms and determining whether krill swarm shape affects whale distribution and behaviour.