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ERIC Number: EJ972013
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-1539-2422
Field Research Studying Whales in an Undergraduate Animal Behavior Laboratory
MacLaren, R. David; Schulte, Dianna; Kennedy, Jen
Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, v38 n1 p3-10 May 2012
This work describes a new field research laboratory in an undergraduate animal behavior course involving the study of whale behavior, ecology and conservation in partnership with a non-profit research organization--the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation (BOS). The project involves two weeks of training and five weekend trips on whale watch vessels to the Jeffreys Ledge region of the Gulf of Maine to collect behavioral data, and to track and individually identify humpback and fin whales as well as document the presence and behavior of other marine mammals and seabirds. Students learn to use an ethogram of whale behaviors as well as methodology related to individual identification in the field. Students work with BOS scientists, using the BOS field research protocol described herein. In conjunction with the project, students keep a journal, pass data collection and ethogram proficiency tests, and complete data sheets associated with each trip. The project has been very successful, providing students with exposure to multiple scientific skills, and emphasizing competencies over content. We hope it may serve to inspire the development of similar partnerships and/or quantitative field studies in other more practical species. (Contains 3 figures and 3 tables.)
Association of College and Biology Educators. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine