First off, I’d like to apologize for not putting out any seal videos yet. I’m not allowed to share anything without express approval by my advisor and her supervisors. I’m in the process of editing a mashup now, so hopefully I’ll have it done by the end of the week 😉
And with that done, let’s begin.
Wednesday the 6th was my first day analyzing the videos I took the previous week. But before I could watch the videos, I had to log a pile of procedure charts. A procedure is either attaching a satellite tag to a seal, removing one after the seal has gone to sea, or just taking morphology readings or samples (blood, blubber, etc…). During the procedure, there’s a sheet that needed to be filled out with information about the seal, like their unique seal ID, markings, pups, and such, as well as lengths, weights, ultrasounds, and the other data collected in the course of the procedure. Since it’s on paper, it needs to be transcribed to a spreadsheet. I did that. After I’d finished all the transcribing, I started analyzing the videos. I’m not sure if I can post any videos, so I’ll wait until I have official confirmation (sorry seal-lovers). They’re honestly hilarious, as they act super interested in the car and then just don’t care or get really scared. What I did see for sure was that they essentially adapted to the presence of the car, in that their reactions decreased in strength as the car stayed and as the noises played. It would be interesting to differentiate their reactions to the physical approach of the car and the soudn played, because some seals seemed to respond very aggressively to the presence of an object, but not to unknown sounds. If I could speculate, I would think it has something to do with the fact that the beaches that they lie on are incredible noisy, and although that doesn’t mean that they can’t hear the car’s noises (they definitely can, because they stare at the car when it plays a noise), it might mean that they’re used to unusual noises, or at least more so than unusual objects.
Thursday the 7th was my second day looking at videos, and the first time that I got access to the trials Rachel had done earlier in 2018. I watched through and rated all the videos (it was a lot of videos), and my general observations were the same as on Wednesday. However, I made a qualitative observation that it seemed like there were a lot of seals that had (a) high reactions to the car’s approach and little to no reaction to the noises, (b) little to no reactions to the car’s approach and high reactions to the noises, or (c) medium reactions to both. As of yet I don’t know why this is, or if there’s any connection between the seals’ physical attributes and their responses. It took me forever to watch and rate all the videos, so that’s what I did the whole day. It wasn’t bad though, because the seals were really funny.
Rachel gave me two papers to read over the weekend. They were about a sort-of similar set of personality trials on grey seals in northern England. There were two papers, one ‘method paper’ and one ‘analysis paper’, both written about the same experiment and by the same researchers.