Fresh Off the Boat
Monday, 24 June 2013
What’s good, everybody!
Let me just quickly introduce myself: I’m HKDCS’ newest intern, Justin! I’m from Hong Kong but I am currently studying mathematics and computer science in University of California, Berkeley. One might say that my field of study is completely unrelated to marine biology, let alone dolphins. One might even ask what my porpoise (pun intended) for doing this internship is.
I’m doing this internship mostly out of self-interest and in order to get a taste of the gruelling field of research. Though this project is mostly about environmental conservation and marine biology, as an aspiring academic, I think and know that this internship will no doubt show me how researchers work and how to conduct successful research. Moreover, the mathematical concepts I have learnt in school made me wonder if I can apply some of those methods and concepts into the field of cetaceans, specifically the Hong Kong dolphins and porpoises.
As a Hong Kong local, I am quite aware of the ongoing reclamation and the recent Link Road project. Hearing concerns about the effects of such projects on the coastal ecology of Hong Kong, I believe that it is crucial for us humans to assess the impacts of our actions if we want to conserve the environment. By joining this internship, I hope to help develop the growing field of conservation in Hong Kong.
I’ve been interning at HKDCS for almost a month now. Although both sea and land-based surveys are quite strenuous, I have been learning a lot shadowing under the staff here. With the literature Samuel provides in the office, I learned how line transect gathers information regarding distribution, abundance and habitat use while theodolite tracking is mostly used for tracking the movement of dolphins in relation to surrounding disturbances.
In fact, the first dolphin I saw during this internship was when we were conducting land-based survey in Sha Chau. The four of them were traveling together and I was surprised by their cohesiveness as a group. Their shapes and appearance were very spectacular, but what amazed me was how they socialize together and act as some kind of family most of the time. After that day, it became a lot easier to spot and observe dolphins. And the more I watch them, the more I admire their diverse behaviour.
While conducting these surveys, the staff here at HKDCS are always helpful and would gladly answer any of my questions to help me learn. Shadowing and keeping up with them is not an easy task. But over the past few weeks, I think I’ve gotten at least a little bit better. As I continue this internship, I’ll no doubt utilize what they’ve taught me and try my best to help conserve the vast cetacean world of Hong Kong!
That’s it for now!
Posted by Justin Suen