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Special Series

Mark P. Johnson

Mark Johnson grew up in New Zealand, that southern paradise with a beach for every person (and sheep). He was always close by the ocean—which defined everything. A box of transistors thrown out by an electrician neighbor lured him into the world of electronics, sound, and music. He studied engineering at the University of Auckland and pursued a Ph.D. working on anti-noise (an electronic method to cut down noise) at the Acoustics Research Center in Auckland. Taking a “holiday” job at WHOI in 1993, Johnson was drawn into Peter Tyack’s marine mammal group. Now in the twelfth year of his holiday, the D-tag project has sent him traveling around the world and given him the opportunity to work with some amazing animals—and biologists. When not following whales, he gets as far away from the ocean as possible: Deserts and mountains tend to stay still under your feet.

Playing Tag with Whales

Playing Tag with Whales

The challenge of designing a device to learn what marine mammals do on dives is the stuff of dreams for an electronics engineer.

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