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Number Cruncher Calculates Whether Whales are Acting Weirdly

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A narwhal.

The statistical method allows researchers to avoid discarding too much or too little data.

Credit: Carsten Egevang/Greenland Institute of Natural Resources

Researchers at Denmark's University of Copenhagen (KU), the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, and U.S.-based Greeneridge Sciences applied statistical techniques to differentiate natural from affected behavior among whales.

KU's Lars Reiter formulated a method to calculate when cetaceans like narwhals and bowhead whales will revert to natural behavior after tagging, to avoid rejecting too much or too little data.

The researchers evaluate a whale's diving pattern and its acceleration and fine motor skills to classify normal behavior, using quantiles rather than averages to concentrate on behavioral extremes for acceleration, according to Reiter.

They base the diving profile on patterns derived from the whale's overall activities, combining depth and time to measure the distribution of dive types for naturalness.

From University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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