The Research: Flora and Fauna
Collecting data for Adventure and Science for Conservation, British Columbia Cetacean Sightings Network, Vancouver Aquarium, Allied Whale, Sea Watch Foundation, Manta Trust, and Dr Richard Thompson and Dr Richard Kirby at Plymouth University.
Data collected will be used to monitor populations and their migration patterns, to confirm species, and map their distribution across the oceans. This will be used for conservation management and to see if there are any species crossing areas of dense marine debris.
1. Whilst at sea, the team will use GPS tracking devices to record the location and time of any wildlife sightings.
2. The Fourbirdsaboating team will use photos and online databases to match sightings with previously recorded sightings.
3. The team will use 3D film to record behaviour in the wild, for example, feeding, social interactions, and travel.
4. For every sighting, the Fourbirdsaboating team will count the size of the groups or pods (size is a good indicator of the health of some colonies, if there are lots of young it can be that there is enough food, or less predators so more young survive, and go on to reproduce).
5. For every sighting, the team will document the presence of young and any distinguishing features on individuals of each species.
6. During each journey, the Fourbirdsaboating team will document the environmental conditions, in particular, the weather and sea state when the sighting occurred. The team will use a Secchi disc to test water turbidity at each location, and monitor the kinds of clouds they see. Much of this data will be replicable by the online students as part of their STEM education.
Specifically, the Fourbirdsaboating team will be collecting data on:
* albatross *great white shark *whale shark *other sharks *dolphins *porpoises *turtles *fish hanging out underneath the boat *sunfish *manta ray (mainly during land based scuba dives) *seals, and *sea otters close to the shore, particularly around Monterey Bay, photographing *humpback whale flukes, *dugong in Australia.