lOGO Undergraduate Research Experience in Ocean and Marine Science
Dolphin Presence/Absence Probabilities on the Virginia and North Carolina Coasts as Correlated with Sea Surface Temperature and Chlorophyll-A Levels

RS1 TeamPurpose
The purpose of this research was to determine if sea surface temperatures and chlorophyll alpha can be used in determining the presence or absence of dolphins. This would enable individuals to locate dolphins without having to physically be on the water looking for them. Because of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Navy is seeking more efficient ways to locate dolphins in order to avoid future harassment.

Location of Research
The area that was surveyed was the Elizabeth River. This river was chosen because of the heavy amount of traffic that involves the military, recreational and industrial sectors. Another contributing factor in using the Elizabeth River is that there were little to no current data to be found involving the area as far as the research was concerned.

General Procedures to Obtain Results
The research started with a lecture about dolphins in general and what the research would entail through a PowerPoint presentation. A few days after the presentation, four voyages were made along a specific transect of the Elizabeth River. When that was accomplished, the archival data collected by previous groups working on similar projects was investigated and utilized. Their data of sightings were used in conjunction with the sea surface temperature and chlorophyll alpha data for each week of sightings. The sea surface temperature and chlorophyll alpha data was found on various resources available online, such as the Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observatory Laboratory (COOL) and the SeaWiFS Project site. Afterwards, the initial results were placed into graphs with their corresponding themes. To determine the significant difference of the data, the initial results were subjected to the T-test. With the values from the T-test, the final results were obtainable and helped to lead the way to the proper conclusions.