What's on: Night talk: Whales, drones and the future of marine mammal research

Vanessa Pirotta uses drones to collect whale snot. Hear how her research, in concert with citizen science, can help support whale health and wildlife conservation.

Vanessa Pirotta

Vanessa Pirotta
Photographer: Chris Stacey © Vanessa Pirotta

Event Type:
Special event
15 November 2018
05.45 PM to 07.45 PM
Hallstrom Theatre, Australian Museum
$16 Member / $20 General Admission / $18 Concession, including a welcome drink

Hear from Vanessa Pirotta of the Marine Predator Research Group, Macquarie University, whose investigations into threats facing cetaceans has taken her around the world including Australia, Tonga, Madagascar and Antarctica.

Pirotta uses drone technology to track whale health by collecting whale snot – her work highlights the use of drones as non-invasive research tools for marine mammal research. She seeks to apply theoretical frameworks to change our thinking about how to better manage human activities in the ocean and promote wildlife conservation.

Vanessa is the 2018 FameLab Australian National Winner and 2018 FameLab International Runner Up. Mad about whales, she shares her passion via the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services YouTube series on whales, The Breach, which she co-hosts.

5:45pm - Doors open, complimentary access to the Whales | Tohora exhibition, welcome drinks and snacks.
6:30pm - Talk starts

Recommended for adults and youth aged 13 and up.


Whales | Tohora presents a powerful combination of interactive science and cultural storytelling that brings to life the world of this majestic and mysterious group of animals.

Discover the remarkable story of whale evolution – starting with the “first” whale, the 50-million-year-old Pakicetus attocki, which had four legs and could walk. Step inside a life-size model of a Blue Whale’s heart. Plunge into the darkest depths with a Sperm Whale as it hunts giant squid. Wander among one of the most extensive collections of whale skeletons ever displayed, including that of an 18m male Sperm Whale – the largest toothed predator on the planet.

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