“If I Knew Then What I Know Now”

Science is self-correcting. Scientific knowledge improves over time. We get this, of course, but it’s still a bit embarrassing sometimes to look back at our published studies to see how we could have done things better, faster, or more efficiently than we did the first time.

That’s where our #AnimalCountingToolkit comes in.

With partners from IUCN, NOAA, CyberTracker, University of St Andrews, BlueWater GIS, and others, we have compiled a simple, how-to guide to design and conduct a small-boat survey to estimate abundance and distribution of marine wildlife. The Animal Counting Toolkit approach is not a new method. Instead, it synthesizes lessons we’ve learned over the last 15 years or so in adapting scientific best practices to work on a small budget. It provides a gentle introduction to previously disparate advice on survey design, field methods, and analysis of line transect survey data.

We’ve launched the toolkit with a paper in Endangered Species Research. Want to use our Animal Counting Toolkit? Please start by downloading and reading the paper. Don’t forget to download the Supplementary Material. That contains all of our projects, templates, and raw data from our first case study off northern Vancouver Island, including a Distance project for survey design, a CyberTracker template for data collection, the raw data, and the Distance project for analysis.

In the coming weeks, we will post a few YouTube videos to explain the methods without using jargon. In the coming months, we intend to share lessons learned with an application of the toolkit in Indonesia, and hope to encourage colleagues to use the approach in their study sites. Our intent is to have this page become a discussion board for practitioners to share lessons and failures with colleagues. We’d be grateful to you for sharing ideas on the best way to do so by leaving a comment and sharing this page.

 

Our Animal Counting Toolkit offers open-access data and tools to guide low-cost, small-boat surveys for marine wildlife

Our Animal Counting Toolkit offers open-access data and tools to guide low-cost, small-boat surveys for marine wildlife