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WHOI Engineer and Co-developer of SharkCam to Testify Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

July 18, 2018

Amy Kukulya, an engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday July 18, 2018, to testify at a hearing entitled, “SHARKS!”

“Sharks and the scientists who study them have led us to improvements in aerodynamics, renewable energy, electrical sensors, and health and medical research. Innovative shark research can benefit marine ecosystems and continue to raise public awareness about these important species,” said U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee. “That said, we don’t see many in South Dakota.”

The hearing will examine innovations in shark research techniques and technology being used to improve American lives by increasing our understanding of oceans and fisheries, creating new innovations in engineering, and searching for medical breakthroughs. Kukulya and her colleagues at WHOI’s Oceanographic Systems Lab developed SharkCam, a robotic underwater system used to track and film tagged sharks in their natural environment with support from The Discovery Channel. Since 2013, SharkCam has made several appearances on The Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week, which will begin its 30th season later this month. Kukulya’s testimony will highlight SharkCam’s foundation in technology originally funded by the U.S. Navy, its growth thanks to substantial private investment, and its potential to help advance scientific research that will improve the future of sharks and the health of the ocean.

“In 2012, we successfully tagged and filmed our first shark in the waters of Cape Cod,” said Kukulya. “Since then, we’ve filmed more species of sharks, all in very different conditions and habitats and at depths down to nearly 1000 feet. At every step of the way, we’ve discovered more about these incredible animals. This technology will be instrumental in providing visual data to help develop effective policies and establish management around the globe.”

More information about the hearing is available on the Committee web site. Witness testimony, opening statements, and both live and archived video of the hearing will be available on the Committee hearing page.