Monday, July 14, 2014

Hannah Lyons Week 2

During our second week at Hatfield I learned how to score lander video. The lander is a device outfitted with a camera, used at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and by many scientists, that is lowered to the bottom of the ocean where it stays stationary and records. It is a helpful tool for monitoring what is going on underwater in the reserve and outside in our control areas. Essentially "scoring" video is watching it and rating a number of factors. We look for view, visibility, relief of terrain, plant growth and density, and of course identify and count fish and invertebrates. The data scored from the recordings is useful in comparing the marine reserves and the still-fished control areas to determine what effects the "no take" policy of the reserves might be having on the marine ecosystem.

scoring lander footage
As with many scientific methods the lander could innately cause some bias in our data collection. Are some fish attracted or scared off by the lander? Is the lander being left down for a sufficient amount of time? Is the quality of footage or view limiting our identifications? When analyzing data the strength or weakness of an instrument or method needs to be understood and corrected for. To help understand the potential bias of the non-baited lander we all read a scientific paper comparing three methods of underwater data collection in temporal ocean, Detection of spatial variability in relative density of fishes: comparison of visual census, angling, and baited underwater video by Willis, Millar, Babcock 2000. We then discussed their findings and it helped us to tighten the protocols in our work.

I am very glad I had previous experience reading scientific papers in school. The group discussion was very beneficial in understanding the scientific process. The paper was usefulness in our field work and data analysis. Science is a wonderfully collaborative study and the peer review process helps to insure quality of others research that can help your own!

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