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Graduate Seminar Series - Dr. Igor Tsukrov

image of Dr. Igor TsukrovIgor Tsukrov, Ph.D.

Professor in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at University of New Hampshire

Friday, April 19, 2024, 3:00 - 4:00 PM
In Person JH-109

Title: Saving North Atlantic Right Whales – Engineering Effort to Mitigate Ship Strikes and Fishing Gear Entanglement


ABSTRACT: North Atlantic Right Whales (NARWs) are the most endangered whale species on the planet (<400 individuals). Two most serious anthropogenic factors leading to injury and death of NARWs are ship strikes and entanglement in the fishing and mooring gear. Over the past decade, at least 60 North Atlantic right whale deaths resulted from rope entanglement or ship strikes, a dangerously high number considering the small global population size of the species. Two engineering projects in support of the effort to save NARWs will be presented in the talk: (1) development of the biomechanical model of the vessel-whale collision to inform decisions regarding regulation of shipping traffic within right whale critical habitats; (2) substitution of traditional synthetic ropes by semi-rigid composite lines which are less prone to initiate entanglement due to their bending stiffness and will break at a certain bending radius before forming loops and knots. The first project resulted in the introduction of biomechanically justified restrictions on ship speed along the right whale migration routes. The second project is ongoing, but feasibility of the approach has been established by experimental measurements and field deployments of aquacultural installations utilizing semi-rigid composite lines.

BIO: Dr. Igor Tsukrov is a Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. His research interests include micromechanics of composite materials and computational mechanics with applications to ocean engineering and manufacturing. He has published more than 150 research papers in professional journals and refereed conference proceedings and has more than 5200 citations with h-index of 35 (Google Scholar). Prof. Tsukrov is a Fulbright scholar and has held visiting positions at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Republic of South Africa) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany). He received his B.S./M.S. degree in Applied Mechanics from Dnepropetrovsk University (Ukraine) and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.