Recovery of hawaiian humpback whale sighting and movement data
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Recovery of Hawaiian humpback whale sighting and movement data. Dr. Debra Palka and Dan Smith National Marine Fisheries Service Dr. Peter Tyack Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Woods Hole, MA 02543. Scientific Rationale.

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Recovery of Hawaiian humpback whale sighting and movement data

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Recovery of Hawaiian humpback whale sighting and movement data

Dr. Debra Palka and Dan Smith

National Marine Fisheries Service

Dr. Peter Tyack

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Woods Hole, MA 02543


Scientific Rationale

  • Off Maui, Tyack’s team used a theodolite (surveyor’s transit) to collect data on locations, tracks, and behaviors of endangered humpback whales and ships during the mating seasons (Jan-Apr) of 1979-81.

  • One of the first extensive, multi-year studies of humpback whale occurrence and behavior in the Hawaiian Islands.

  • Many researchers have replicated this methodology in the same area over the last 25 years.

  • In 1997, the area was designated as part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

  • The Tyack study would provide an historical perspective on how changes in climate, habitat, and shipping traffic influence humpback whale behavior and distribution in their breeding grounds.


General Approach for Project

  • Data from handwritten records would need to be keyed into a standardized spreadsheet format

    • Data fill 14 handwritten books, each about 150 pages

    • Total about 2,100 pages

  • For QC, the data should be double-keyed in the blind, cross-checked by the contractors, and then checked against the data books by the PI’s.

  • Could be completed within one year (FY07)

  • Once completed, data set made accessible on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary website.


Specific tasks

  • Sample page of data

    • Record type (comment, whale, boat: determined from context)

    • Date

    • Time

    • Animal(s) ids

    • Number of animals

    • Compass bearings


Sample of format for keyed data

COMMENT 2/21/81 8:40:20 GS IS ON A 2+ WHALES

COMMENT 2/21/81 8:42:36 GS, JD ON A, 2HU,BS,OM

COMMENT 2/21/81 8:50:10 TRANSIT ZEROED

WHALE 2/21/81 8:53:14 B 0 92 6 12 275 41 36

WHALE 2/21/81 8:55:43 C 2 90 29 25 323 1 50

WHALE 2/21/81 8:57:46 A 2+ 90 35 28 322 4 34

WHALE 2/21/81 8:58:24 C 0 90 29 33 322 29 28

COMMENT 2/21/81 8:58:52 WW IN A

WHALE 2/21/81 8:59: 3 A 0 90 34 50 321 52 59

COMMENT 2/21/81 8:59:40 GS RPTS UB,VS IN A

COMMENT 2/21/81 9: 0: 1 JD RPTS SURFACINGS ARE RELATIVELY CALM

WHALE 2/21/81 9: 0:49 A 0 90 34 20 322 1 39

COMMENT 2/21/81 9: 3:20 RO,BR IN C

WHALE 2/21/81 9: 3:55 C 0 90 29 19 321 26 42


Example of a messy page


Specific Tasks

  • What we (the PI’s) would do:

    • Provide the data books (available for immediate shipping)

    • Provide guidance to contractor as to how to interpret the handwritten format

    • Quality check the keyed-in data

  • What the contractor would do:

    • Key in hand-written data fields


CDMP Proposal Evaluation Criteria

  • Supports NOAA’s Strategic Goals

    • The Sanctuary’s goal is to promote comprehensive and coordinated management, research, education, and long-term monitoring for the endangered humpback whale and its habitat.

  • Value to climate community

    • Data will allow investigations of how changes in climate, habitat, and shipping traffic are associated with changes in the distribution and behavior of humpback whales on their breeding grounds.

  • Cost effectiveness

    • Though not a big keying project, original data collection was considerable (multiple boats and observers over three seasons)

    • Impact of having these data easily available will be large


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