Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2017


Strandings offer unique opportunities to delve into the world of marine mammals in terms of acquiring unique scientific specimens for collections, providing a strong foundation for framing conservation efforts, and protecting and assisting distressed marine animals. In addition to Level A data, supplemental documents relevant to stranded, deceased marine mammals are often completed in order to obtain specialized data that can relay a variety of demographic information. However, data must be obtained in a systematic manner in order for management and policy decisions to effectively foster conservation. During my time with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s Stranding Response Program (VAQS), my main objective was to improve the data collection and record keeping relevant to marine mammal necropsies, with the goal of standardizing and streamlining procedures. I created QA/QC protocols for easy access and review of recent and historical datasheets to ensure all appropriate fields were complete and accurate. I also manually entered recent and historical datasheets (including human interaction, species-specific morphometrics, neonatal characteristics, blubber thicknesses and masses) in order to streamline data usage for future research projects. Additionally, I tested the efficacy of my historical data entry and review protocol for the 2012 HI form, which greatly improved the identification and remediation of errors for data entered in these historical documents. Furthermore, I modified and consolidated previous morphometric forms to ensure consistency in field order and corresponding numbers to anatomical features for improved efficiency.


Department: MBE

MPS Track: MMS

Location: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center - Stranding Response Program

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