seal movements and the process of science

From: Erich Hoyt (
Date: Fri Dec 05 2003 - 03:29:09 EST

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    >From: "Deb Yancey" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: satellite maps of harbor, harbor and gray seals and logger head
    >Date: Tue, Dec 2, 2003, 7:59 PM

    > Dear Mr. Hoyt,
    > I am an eighth grade science teacher in northern new york state. I
    > am working with Syracuse University and NASA to introduce students to NASA
    > web resources. In a recent activity, we looked at the Argos satellite and
    > the tracking program involving The NEw England Aquarium.
    > From the web site, we looked at the movement of the
    > Seals, Tom, Nikki, Wade and Valentine.. We also looked at the loggerhead
    > turtle. I had the students analyze tge movement patterns over time and
    > then hypothesize the reason for their particular movement.
    > could you please give me some additional information on what causes
    > their particular patterns of movement or is this somewhat random?
    > Valentine really had some rather peculiar movements. Also, does the
    > tagging process its self cause the animals to move differently than normal.
    > Could you please look at these maps for the five animals and give me your
    > opinion of what caused their movement pattern? I would appreaciate your
    > interpretation of their movement and will share this with my students...
    > Thank you for your time..... Debbie Yancey
    > My e mail is

    Sorry for the delay, as I was trying to double check this with my
    colleagues. As I suspected, we don't have specific answers, based on
    research, that would be able to tell us why they they move around the way
    they do. What you and your class are doing, essentially, is asking the same
    questions as the researchers! This is good. What might be fun, now, is to
    hypothesize why they may be moving from one place to another at a specific
    time of year and then get the class to try to figure out how to test that.
    For example, if you think the movements may be food-related, then maybe it
    would be necessary to acquire data on specific prey food availability by
    season and location. It could be interesting (indicative though most likely
    inconclusive) to see if there are satellite maps of the ocean showing ocean
    productivity levels by season. These could be compared with the plots
    showing seal movement.

    The process of science may well be more important to show than the

    Hope this helps

    Erich Hoyt

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