10 January 2019

Data Collection is Hard!

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We learned it’s important to have multiple people collecting data from different perspectives to compare similarities and differences – especially with the surface observations we collect around Kathleen’s data collection in the morning at Bailey’s Key. Late this afternoon, we just reviewed the reliability between our teams for data collection of surface activity and we did not really match that well (oops!). But, we have learned much about collecting these data.
Our morning began as usual with data collection while Kathleen observed the dolphins underwater. After breakfast, we listened to her give an insightful lecture about DCP and dolphin communication and cognition. Then, after her talk, we discussed a scientific paper that required a severe critical eye – we found several methodological issues with the research design and the statistics used to examine the data. We practiced using critical thinking! After the paper discussion, we reviewed the morning video data, and we are getting MUCH better at recognizing the individual dolphins. We routinely recognize Stan, Mrs. Beasley, Carmella, Champ, Tank, Alita (perfect dolphin!), and we are even getting a bit more practice with recognizing Ritchie and Bill as they have been swimming around more than usual. Dory’s vocalizations are usually loud and she brings us seaweed often to tempt us to play!
After another delicious lunch that was unique and delightful, we went snorkeling to Lawson Rock. The current was stronger than expected and we got rained on by a squall that blew through the area! The water was warmer than the rain and so it was tempting to stay in the water! We saw trunk fish and other sea creatures … even though we seemed to collide with each other more often than not! We did our part for conservation by collecting any plastic bits we saw and removing them from the sea.
It was wonderful to get off the snorkel boat and be able to take hot showers and warm up and dry out!
We spent a bit of time working on our portfolios before meeting with Dr. R and Kathleen. We reviewed our data collection (see above) and then listened to the first new The Dolphin Pod podcast from DCP! (For you listening pleasure … check it out here: https://audioboom.com/posts/7139516-timesharing-dolphins)
Tomorrow, after data collection, we have our dolphin encounter and swim at 9 AM!
It is hard to believe tomorrow is our last full day here on Roatan!
Cheers
The URI Rams!

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