Vocalizing Science

This past summer, Ari Daniel Shapiro, 30, was part of a research team that tracked killer whales off the coast of northwestern Canada. Every morning, the crew set out to affix sensors to the elusive mammals to capture their vocalizations and movement. Shapiro, whose training is in biological oceanography, would download the day’s data and prep the recovered sensors for the next deployment. Since is assisting with the data analysis and will be a co-author on any scientific articles that result.

Yet, technically, Shapiro isn’t an oceanographer, or not anymore. The invitation to participate in the summer tagging trip came from a scientist featured in Shapiro’s National Public Radio piece, ” Killer Whales: The Allure Of The Search.” Shapiro studied killer whales–Orcinus orca–for his doctoral dissertation, so he knew his way around the boat. But since January 2009, Ari Daniel Shapiro–he uses his middle name to avoid confusion with the Ari Shapiro who reports for NPR on the Department of Justice and legal affairs–has earned his living as an independent radio and multimedia producer, recording sounds, editing audio, and doing all the things necessary to create science-related radio shows for public radio and podcasts and audio slide shows for the Web sites of research institutions.

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