Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 40 - Where's Lambert?

We are collecting and processing a lot of data during our Sirena 10 cruise - not only on whales and dolphins, through visual and acoustic surveys, but also on the marine environment in which we observe them. This data, which includes bottom topography, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll and salinity, will help improve our understanding of how cetaceans choose suitable areas to feed or breed. Once we identify and characterize such areas we can try to predict, using habitat models and their ecological significance, the presence (and absence) of cetaceans in other areas.

Working long hours on data processing may not sound as much fun as whale watching on the flying bridge, but it is has its rewards. Even some unusual ones, such as a rare sighting of Lambert, the elusive isobath whale, inhabiting a bathymetric map of an area we are surveying. We are still working on a taxonomic classification for this lone whale. Meanwhile, try to see if you can find Lambert hidden in the isobaths (contour lines) in the map below.

Hint: it seems to be swimming away from the coastline and prefers deeper waters! And if you're wondering, his name comes from the cartographic projection which best displays his looks.

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