July 18, 2004
Today we took an opportunity to meet as a group, as Dr. Barlow called an "All Scientist" meeting to discuss progress to date and outline our plan for the remaining weeks. Many people assume that "research" implies a solitary task in a lonely laboratory; however, the SPLASH cruise illustrates that research is by nature a collaborative task, one that requires careful coordination of strengths and skills. Though most people on board have an area of expertise, such as acoustics, biopsy or photography, all hands must be able to fill in where necessary, requiring breadth of skill as well as depth. A meeting such as this allows each scientist to update the group on their piece of the project and provide an overall picture of progress to date.
In terms of our primary goal, the assessment of humpback stocks, the first leg has been highly successful. There have been nearly 200 humpback flukes catalogued to date, and over 130 humpback biopsies inventoried. In addition, nearly 50 orcas have been photo ID'd and the catalogue continues to grow. The other notable sightings, including the blue whales, Mesoplodon, and other species, all provide valuable information that round out our picture of the abundance of cetaceans in these waters. In terms of our trackline, the mostly cooperative weather means that we have made effective progress in covering our outlined territory, putting us in good stead for arrival in Kodiak.
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