This week, I was able to attend the meeting held on Wednesday, during which I was able to discuss with the Professor and other students regarding both my dataset plans and general project plans, as well as some discussion regarding the mid-semester report, which we should submit soon. Initially, I had a handful of datasets bookmarked on my desktop, mostly pertaining to climate change and/or marine science, and my initial goal was to utilize one revolving around sea level rise in the Northeastern United States, however I soon encountered an issue when downloading some of the files, namely that most of them contained only metadata, and not the raw data itself. This turned out to be the case for the majority of datasets on sea level rise that I had, so as a result, I had to shift topics slightly; instead of focusing on climate change, I instead decided to utilize one of the databases I found on fisheries reports from the Northeast United States. This wasn’t an issue, since fisheries science is another topic that I am fascinated in, and it’s one that I find it just as interesting as climate change.
I actually had to email one of the researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA, since I was initially having difficulties with obtaining the data; fortunately the researcher I contacted responded quite quickly, and he was able to provide some assistance in accessing the raw data. The database actually consists of four individual CSV files: one serving as a reference for the name/taxonomy of each species, one documenting physiology/habitat data for prey species, one documenting physiology/habitat data for predator species, and one documenting length/sex data for prey species; all the data was obtained from various fisheries surveys in the Northwest Atlantic (off the coast of the Northeast United States). Each of the datasets is quite large; the datasets on Prey Data and Predator Data were actually too large to open in Excel or Google Sheets (I am able to view them using a text editor, but that will not be very sufficient for actual analysis), so as a result, I will likely end up using the Prey Length dataset for my analyses, since it still offers a huge variety of data to work with, including the year/cruise of sample, species ID, the length of the specimen, the sex of the specimen, etc. My current goal is to work on the mid-semester report and finish it by the next class, and begin evaluating what types of questions I want to investigate using my datasets.