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Public Defense: Monday, October 18, 2021, 2pm ET in BU 118 at SCSU.
One of the goals of "historical ecology" is to fill in the gaps in scientific data with data gleaned from more ordinary sources – diaries, newspaper reports, historical photographs, etc. Many sources of this data are currently less than usable because the format is not machine-readable or because the data is simply difficult to find. I will be collating sightings of fish in the Long Island Sound and surrounding waters from the weekend recreational fishing reports published by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from 2006. These articles were (and are) published weekly during the recreational fishing season (April-October in most years) and summarize catches and sightings by local bait and tackle shops, charter and other fishing boats, and individual fishers. At minimum, these reports include species and location; sometimes size (weight or length) is included. I will compare this data to the CT DEEP trawling data (less frequent but more comprehensive) to provide an estimate of validity. I will be supplementing the data from the news articles with geocoordinates based on the named places in the reports (i.e. New Haven Harbor breakwater.) The final product will be a data set consisting of entries for each species, location, and date, with weight, length, and environmental data as available, in a machine-readable format ready for analysis, such as looking for trends in the start, end, and duration of sightings. I will publish the data set openly so that it can be downloaded, reanalyzed, and added to by future researchers.
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