Five more names are being held for great shearwaters that will be tagged in September.
Arliner: 7/14/21; named for Roger Arliner Young, the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Zoology and be professionally published in her field. She worked summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory on Cape Cod with Ernest Everett Just where she studied hydration and dehydration of living cells and fertilization in marine invertebrates. The RAY Marine Conservation Diversity Fellowships were established in her honor.
Ashanti: 7/13/21; named for Ashanti Johnson, one of first Black female chemical oceanographers, and first African American to earn a doctoral degree in oceanography from Texas A&M University. She is active in diversity-focused initiatives in academia and was awarded the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering for her work in STEM education.
Bessie: 7/14/21; named for Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman and Native American woman to hold a pilot’s license. This famous trick pilot was killed at age 34 in an unfortunate plane accident. A Bessie Coleman Aviators Club was founded in 1977 by African American women pilots and the U.S. Postal Service issued the Bessie Coleman stamp in 1995.
Birdy McBirdface: 7/13/21; this name is the somewhat inevitable consequence of an earlier contest (2016), sponsored by the British government, to name a new polar research ship. The public selected Boaty McBoatface, which although meeting the naming rules, was not used for the large vessel, but assigned to an autonomous underwater vehicle (marine robot). Several entries of Birdy McBirdface were received, accepted, and selected by the team.
Britney Shears: 7/13/21; this name plays off the species name and the name of a famous pop singer.
E.E.Just: 7/13/21; named for Ernest Everett Just, a brilliant student and pioneering African American biologist, who was the first recipient of the NAACP’s Springarn Medal for his scientific achievements. One of the first African Americans to earn a PhD from the University of Chicago, Just worked with Frank R. Lillie, director of the Marine Biological Laboratory, who served as his doctoral advisor. Later in his career, Just mentored Roger Arliner Young (see above). He was a founding member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity (Alpha Chapter) at Howard University in 1911.
Jemison: 7/13/21; named for the first Black woman to travel into space. Mae Carol Jemison is an engineer and physician. She served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992, during which she orbited the Earth for nearly eight days. Since leaving NASA she has formed a non-profit educational foundation.
Shuri: 7/14/21; named for a character in the Black Panther movie. Shuri is the Princess of Wakanda and the daughter of T’Chaka and Ramonda. She is the sister of T’Challa and a scientist/inventor who created much of the technology used in her nation.
Tuskegee: 7/13/21; named for the World War II Tuskegee Airmen—the first African American fighter pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Some of these pilots trained over the Great Lakes where six airmen and their aircraft were lost in the lakes. Recently, archaeologists have been working to find these aircraft to honor the pilots and protect the sites. One of the lost Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Frank Moody, was killed when his Bell P-39Q Airacobra crashed in 1944. The aircraft was discovered in 30 feet of water in Lake Huron and documented by Michigan state maritime archaeologist Wayne Lusardi and partners from Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.
Volgenau8: 7/13/21; named for the Volgenau Foundation, an organization that has financially supported the project for the past decade. During the 10-year study to date, no names were assigned in year one and no birds were tagged in 2020 due to the pandemic, hence the “8” in this year’s bird name.
Sanctuary scientists want to learn more about how seabirds react to changes in their primary food source and what factors cause changes in forage fish abundance. Signals from the tags have allowed scientists to plot bird movements. They can then relate the movements to oceanographic features such as water temperature, bathymetry, chlorophyll concentration, ocean fronts and other factors that might result in increased productivity or that concentrate prey. This year, two tagging missions will attempt to tag sets of mature and immature birds to study differences in feeding patterns and migration routes.
Summary reports of the birds’ travels and cumulative maps of each bird’s tracks will be updated monthly on our follow the birds page. The maps are to be used for educational purposes only. For more timely notices, check our Twitter (@NOAASBNMS) and Facebook and the project's associated twitter account @TrackSeabirds.