Dr. Barham combines polymer physics with penguin conservation as the inventor of a new type of silicone rubber flipper band for African penguins.
“I have managed to combine my passion (some would say obsession) for penguins with my expertise in materials science by assisting with the design and production of novel methods of marking individual birds.”
A great moment in the field:
Data collected by Earthwatch volunteers have aided in the development of an automatic recognition system that records patterns of spots on the chests of adult birds through digital photography. This technique is still being tested and refined, but eventually it may be possible to monitor remotely more than 90% of the penguins on the island.