Papers Papers Everywhere

In the blog “It doesn’t end there” and “Getting Mugged” we spoke of data sheets, or boat logs. We thought we would tell you more about what goes into the data collection process.

At the beginning and end of every survey, we start the log with the time and location of the boat launch. This allows us to calculate the amount of time on the water in relation to how much time we are spending with the whales. Each time we come across a pod, a time and location is also taken down in the log. When we are with the pod, we note the pod composition (how many and the age class of each animal), temperature, and the pod activity. We also take notes on the photos, such as what is in the frame and who it is. For example, frame 1234 is a fluke of the mom. It is important to note which animal is in the frame for the matching process that will happen later.

At the end of the day, we use the notes to go through the photos, correcting mistakes if need be. We also complete a summary sheet of the day. This sheet allows us to scan easily through the day’s information to find a particular pod or animal. As you can probably imagine there are many pages of notes to enter and it does take a bit of time. We do enter all the data into an Excel spreadsheet and that makes it much easier to look up information later.

Amanda Hutsel