Beam Reach catalyzes marine conservation wherever endangered salmon-eating orcas roam — from northern California to British Columbia. Based in Seattle, we are bioacoustic experts who create innovative technological solutions with our non-profit, government, and industry partners to help save the whales. We love being scientists and teachers — and sailing fast on a beam reach!
Beam Reach is a Washington social purpose corporation founded in 2017. That year, we coordinated a Kickstarter that raised $20,000 to help the Orcasound hydrophone network by developing a web app that makes it easy for citizen scientists to listen for whales.
In the summer of 2017, we initiated the Orcasound open-source hardware and software project and launched Orcasound 1.0 in November, 2018. Thanks to an amazing community of Orcasound hackers in Seattle and around the world, in November, 2019, we began beta-testing the more-interactive Orcasound 2.0.
In January, 2020, Beam Reach was honored to be selected as one of 11 start-up companies participating in the inaugural Maritime Blue Accelerator. We are excited to deepen our connections with the maritime industry in Puget Sound, learn with other founders, and introduce investors to conservation challenges we help solve in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2020, Beam Reach is a “family business” made up of Dr. Scott Veirs and his father, Dr. Val Veirs. Scott is trained as an environmental scientist (B.S., Stanford Earth Systems, 1992) and an oceanographer (PhD., University of Washington, 2003). Val is a retired physicist who taught at Colorado College for 3 decades where he pioneered their environmental science program.
From 2002-2012, Scott and Val taught under/graduates about marine environmental problems and killer whale bioacoustics through the Beam Reach marine science and sustainability school. During that period, Beam Reach was a 501(c)3 non-profit that enabled 50 students to earn UW credit while taking classes at the Friday Harbor Labs and conducting their own research projects aboard the Gato Verde electric-sailing catamaran. That decade deepened our professional network in the marine conservation community, including teaching with amazing educators like Dr. Jason Wood and Captain Todd Shuster.
Education & outreach
- 2020: Acoustic content for the outreach Orca Survey Education & Outreach Center (Center for Whale Research)
- 2019: New acoustic and video content for the Lime Kiln State Park Interpretive Center (FOLKS)
- 2017-18: Pat Price Ocean Listening Exhibit at the Langley Whale Center (Orca Network)
- 2011: Listening for Orcas exhibit (Port Townsend Marine Science Center, with NOAA & Killer Whale Tales)
- 2009: Hydrophone listening Station (Seattle Aquarium)
Research & consulting
- 2019-20: Field-testing of the Marine Monitor (M2) radar+camera system for monitoring vessel traffic at the Orcasound Lab hydrophone (collaboration with Protected Seas)
- 2017-20: Field-testing of the NEMES automated camera system for assessing vessel traffic at the Orcasound Lab hydrophone (collaboration with University of Victoria, NEMES)
- 2018-20: Assessing the Impacts of Noise Exposure on Southern Resident Killer Whale Foraging Efficiency (Oceans Initiative)
- 2018: A key to quieter seas: half of ship noise comes from 15% of the fleet (PeerJ pre-print)
- 2016: Ship noise extends to frequencies used for echolocation by endangered killer whales (PeerJ peer-reviewed article)
- See also: Beam Reach wiki (staff & student research projects)