Or, maybe it should be called the cloudy season.
Kogi, Hasegawa and Masaki went out today but it was for a transect survey, that is, no underwater observations. A transect is run at a steady speed in one direction (chosen randomly) around the island. When dolphins are seen, various data points are documented: location, time, group size, group activity. If any id's can be made, they are noted. Enough time to assess group size is given and then the transect resumes. Hasegawa is studying which dolphins are seen where and when around Mikura. He is looking for patterns, if they exist. Masaki is studying mother/calf positions and how positions might change as the calf grows and develops. By mother/calf positions, this is where near mom's body the calf is when observed. Masaki is an extra observer on the boat today. Kogi is studying dolphin and human/boat interactions. Mai-chan is studying contact behavior among the study population: how and where they come into contact and what these behaviors might mean. Together, we try to learn as much as possible about the dolphins around Mikura. We also rely heavily on the catalog of identified dolphins that has been maintained by the Mikura Iruka Kenkyukai since 1994. It is like a family photo albumn with many relations between the dolphins known in these records. Today, I worked on video ID's and just about finished the last tape of those in hand. So far we have identified more than 105 individual bottlenose dolphins from the study group of about 160 dolphins. A good re-sight ratio for 6-7 weeks of observations. Till tomorrow, Kathleen