Project Stages

For the PMBS to run smoothly, the project must be conducted in stages to aid in data sampling and organization.

Fieldwork preparation: The first step is to organize the logistics of the project, which includes producing satellite transmitters and preparing tag deployment equipment, making travel and accommodation arrangements, and preparing vessels. In general, this stage begins months before the researchers travel to the field to attach the transmitters to the whales.

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Marking the whales: The second phase of the project consists of placing the transmitters on the whales at sea. This step typically takes 3 to 4 weeks and requires researchers to gather in the field and remain at a coastal site. Weather conditions permitting, daily trips will be made to the sea on speedboats and inflatable boats to attach the transmitters to the animals Researchers may also stay on board and perform the work from a ship. Marking occurs before the onset of migration to cold waters near the Antarctic continent where whales feed.

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Monitoring: The satellite transmitters are activated upon marking and begin sending signals to satellites. These signals are converted into geographic locations and allow researchers to monitor the whales movements, including their migratory routes and destinations.