This past week was probably the busiest I’ve had so far in Croatia. From the field to the office, there was no shortage of work to be done!
We began the week with a long stretch of days where we went out to sea to collect data on the dolphins. Luckily, all of the trips were successful, but after several consecutive days of data collection, it starts to take a toll (fatigue, sunburn). At one point during the week, we traveled north of Veli Lošinj to the island of Cres, where we managed to get a quick glimpse into one of the local fish farming operations. In some parts of the Adriatic region, especially further east, fish farming can have a huge impact on the lives of the dolphins. As my boss explained to me, dolphins sometimes limit their home range to a very small area in the immediate vicinity of a fish farm. This allows them to feed consistently with very minimal effort, and as a result, their home range shrinks to sometimes only a few square kilometers.
As for the time spent in the office, I primarily underwent training using a few different packages in RStudio. In short, we took some of the data I had compiled last week from previous dolphin sightings and conducted a handful of analyses. It was really interesting to learn how it’s done, but it was rather tricky at the same time. Some analyses within R and RStudio can have complicated procedures, and you really have to pay attention to the commands you’re typing in. Leave out one parenthesis and it all goes pear-shaped. It’s worth the effort, though, when you finally get to see that clear, visual representation of the dataset you’ve been working on. Looks good on the ol’ resume, too!
Here are some pictures I took from the boat throughout this past week, starting with that fish farm just off of Cres.