That may be true in some cases, but not for our project! Three is not so much a crowd as a bare minimum. It takes at least three people to go out and collect data on Selkie, but we have discovered over the years that the more people we have, the more data we can get (within limits of course…Selkie is by no means a large boat). For our project to be successful, we have a lot of data to collect each and every trip. We have photos to take, GPS coordinates to track, video and audio to record, behavioral data to sequence, and CTD casts to do. On top of all of that, we must be constantly watching the whales, driving the boat, and keeping track of the hydrophones. On top of all of THAT we also may have to biopsy and this season we are trying to deploy suction cup tags for acoustic and depth data right from the whale.
Now that the grad students and Susan have returned to their duties in Syracuse, it is just me, Pete, and Grace. On Saturday we went out for the first time this season as a trio and it wasn’t easy! We worked hard and we worked together, and in doing so we were rewarded with two biopsies, acoustic recordings, video, photos, and behavioral sequencing. It wasn’t perfect, but we got a lot done and learned some things to do better the next time around…it doesn’t look like we are going to have good weather for a few days, so we are settling in to take a look at what we have collected thus far this season. More soon!