Black Bawks Data Science

Data analytics for building healthy ecosystems

What is a “Black Bawk”?

In Newfoundland, Canada, a “Black Bawk” is known in the common vernacular as the Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus). This medium-sized Procellariiform (tube-nosed) seabird is one of the most numerous and wide-ranging of marine avifauna. It is the deepest diving of the tube-nosed seabirds, and engages in some of the most incredible foraging journeys of any avian species. The Black Bawk is one of the most amazing animals on earth, and symbolizes resilience and tenacity despite formidible odds.

By JJ Harrison ( - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Credit: JJ Harrison

Our mission is to provide data analytics and scientific support for organizations who are aiming to make our world more ecologically sustainable. We have vast experience with machine learning technologies for predictive analytics, web-based decision support tools, Geographic Information Systems and statistical analyses as well as on the ground data collection using end-to-end solutions. Our experience allows us to work across many fields and ecosystems from offshore wind farms in the North Atlantic to the icy continent of Antarctica.

Credit: G Humphries

Who are we?

Dr Grant Humphries (Director)

Grant is a quantitative marine ornithologist with over 16 years of experience working with seabirds and multivariate statistics in various parts of the world and 6 years of experience working in the offshore wind industry. He holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Otago and is the founder of Black Bawks Data Science, the vice-chair of the World Seabird Union and sits on the board of Oceanites Inc as the director of science.  Grant has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers in academic journals and many reports ranging from impacts of offshore renewables on marine life to the impacts of tourism on Antarctic penguin populations. He was also the lead editor of “Machine learning for sustainable natural resource management” published by Springer Nature in 2018. Grant furthermore has developed and contributed to several R-based analytical packages and web-based tools including the `stochLAB` package for stochastic collision risk modelling for offshore windfarms and the migratory collision risk model.  He is a guitarist and mandolin player and lives in the Scottish highlands with his two girls, his partner, and a plethora of furry animal friends.

Laura Bogaard, M.Sc (Data scientist)

Laura is a Seattle-based marine ecologist who received her MSc in Statistical Ecology with distinction from the University of St Andrews in 2021 and her BASc in Marine Conservation Biology from Quest University Canada in 2017. Her research interests include statistical ecology, bioacoustics, animal behavior, and human-wildlife interactions. She has worked with marine wildlife across a variety of sectors including non-profit, academic, expedition tourism, and commercial development. In her free time, Laura enjoys traveling, plant-based cooking, and spending time in the mountains with her partner and her dog. Above all, Laura hopes to spend her career conducting research and outreach that directly contributes to the scientific understanding and mitigation of human impacts on marine wildlife.

What we do

David Dixon / Walney Offshore Windfarm / CC BY-SA 2.0

Offshore wind farm ornithology

We have expertise in:

  • Collision risk modelling
  • Interpretation and analysis of aerial and boat-based surveys
  • Density surface modelling
  • Population viability analysis
  • Distributional response analysis

Web-based decision support tools

Using the R Shiny or Django development environments we can build tools to host or deliver data to relevant stakeholders


GIS Mapping and database curation

We are experts with ArcMap, QGIS and R-based mapping applications and work within the PostgreSQL environment for data delivery

  • Geostatistical analyses
  • Mapping for publications, reports and websites
  • Maps for stakeholder engagement
  • Database design and implementation
  • Geodatabases for web-based applications

Statistical data analysis and Scientific advice

From terrestrial to marine ecosystems, Black Bawks can offer statistical and scientific support

  • Predictive analytics with machine learning
  • Frequentist statistical solutions
  • Application and use of AI technologies
  • Survey and scientific design and ideation
  • Scientific publications and reporting

On the ground data collection

With trained drone pilots on hand with the latest in DJI Mavic technology, we are able to help with many ecological surveying requirements

  • 2D orthorectified imagery over large areas
  • Orthorectified thermal imagery
  • 3D rendered photogrammetry models
  • Species identification by a combination of AI and human experts

We have accomplished a lot in just a short while






Peer-reviewed manuscripts


published book



SatiSfied clientS

Machine learning in Ecology

If you are looking for a book that describes how ML has been used or could be used on your own spatial ecology data sets, I recommend this book. I also recommend it for readers looking for a book that provides thoughtful arguments about data analysis, in general, and where it could be moving in the future.

John Carriger, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Vol. 16 (1), 2020

Get it here

Our clients and partners

Just a smattering of some of the great teams we’ve been able to support and work with so far

Some of our favourites

Want to book a meeting?