These last couple of weeks have gone by very fast. My research has been wrapping up. I have finished the data analysis on the results of the seal counts and am now working on putting together the paper. There will be two research papers as a result of my research. The first on is about how grey seals do not react to the use of a UAS while surveying them. The second paper is about using a UAS to complete population surveys of grey seals rather than traditional methods. This research is important for researchers who wish to use this method in the future.
Today is my last day here at the Duke Marine Lab. It is very bitter sweet, as I have been here since January talking classes over the spring semester and then doing this research over the summer. I have met many great people here at the lab and learned an abundance of new skills that I will utilize in my future endeavors. This opportunity has been very beneficial to me and it has opened my eyes to a new way to utilize UAS in the marine sector. As I continue my education, I knew I wanted to research climate change and how it affects Antarctic animals and ecosystems, but now I would like to utilize UAS in my future research. This technology in relatively new to the marine field and is not widely used, but has already demonstrated its an effective and efficient tool to use in ecology.
Even though I will miss it here, I am looking forward to heading back to my home institution, Wittenberg University and completing my senior year. I am taking the GRE and applying to graduate programs this fall. Eventually, I may even end up back here at the Duke Marine Lab. I want to thank the Wittenberg University Student Development Board and my sponsor for the financial support to be able to do this research. I want to thank my research adviser, Dr. Kathleen Reinsel for helping make this opportunity possible. Finally, I want to thank my mentor this summer, Dr. David Johnston, for guiding me through my research and being a consistent support as I learned new techniques and skills to complete this project. All of these people have helped to make this opportunity an unforgettable experience that will help me in my future endeavors.