Take an Active Role
Your role during the course is twofold. Firstly, you will be an active member of the research crew helping to survey the study area, spot whales and collect data. This is especially important as we often have the problem of having too many whales in the area. Secondly, you will help to process the data you collected.
No previous experience needed
In our experience very few participants have had prior equivalent experience in this kind of research. Thus, the course program is designed for people without previous skills or specific knowledge. Nevertheless, a good eye for detail, enthusiasm, motivation, the ability to concentrate for several hours, and a willingness to get involved right at the beginning will carry you a long way. Training will start on the first day of participation and carry throughout the field course.
Tasks on board
The principle task for each person on board is to look out for, call out and count whales and seals, to call out feeding behaviours, and to describe identification marks on whales. All tasks are introduced step-by-step during the course and questions can be raised at any time. During each outing two specific tasks, timing and recording, are assigned to two volunteers who will switch on a rotational basis throughout the course.
All data collected is related to the exact time of its occurrence therefore this volunteer will call out the exact times.
He or she will speak all information dictated to him on a digital voice recorder. The rest of the crew has time to take pictures and video and of course, simply enjoy the experience.
Tasks on land
On land, each team member is responsible for transcribing his or her data recordings.
Beyond this, volunteers are encouraged to become as fully involved in working up data as their individual skills and interest allow. Often it is only when the data are processed that the full significance of what has been experienced in the field is revealed.