Marine Mammal Expert Partners with Vineyard Wind

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Vineyard Wind, an offshore wind development company, says Dr. Christopher Clark will be partnering with the company as a senior scientist. Clark is a renowned bioacoustician with over 40 years of experience studying the potential influences of man-made noise on endangered species, with particular expertise in marine mammals and whales. The addition of Clark will advance Vineyard Wind’s commitment to protecting all marine life and further builds on an existing agreement with leading conservation groups to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

“Dr. Clark has built an impressive career working with marine mammals and whales for several decades. He is highly regarded not only in the northeast but throughout the scientific community for his expertise on a variety of marine issues, most notably his pioneering work to design and develop the first passive acoustic monitoring systems still used to protect North Atlantic right whales near shipping lanes,” says Rachel Pachter, CDO at Vineyard Wind. “We are excited to work with Dr. Clark and look forward to his expertise as we work to responsibly build and operate the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the U.S.”

Vineyard Wind plans to partner with universities, technology companies and other innovators to implement passive acoustic monitoring systems (PAMS) to be deployed alongside transit routes to the offshore wind areas. Once implemented, the systems will transmit monitoring data in near-real-time to project staff so that enhanced mitigation measures can be effectively implemented. Clark was a pioneer in the design and development of long-term PAMS, which includes a system that is still operational off the coast of Boston listening for North Atlantic right whales to alert mariners of whale presence near the shipping lanes.

“I am excited to work with a Vineyard Wind team that is already committed to developing offshore wind technology as safely and responsibly as possible,” says Christopher Clark. “I spent much of my career working at the intersection of marine science, industry and regulation, and I look forward to providing my expertise to a team at the forefront of an evolving industry that is new to the waters off the east coast.”

As a biologist and engineer, Clark is an expert in both marine mammal science and biological acoustics. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers throughout his career. Clark is presently a part-time senior research scientist at Marine Acoustics Inc. Throughout his career, he has engaged in numerous collaborative research projects promoting the application of scientific knowledge for responsible conservation of marine mammals and endangered species. These initiatives have explicitly involved balancing environmental, societal, regulatory and offshore energy components.

Dr. Clark’s contributions to marine mammal science are extraordinary, and his expertise will be utilized to ensure responsible development and operation of the Vineyard Wind Projects, says the company.

Photo: Dr. Christopher Clark

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