Who is watching walrus?

Meet Lori Polasek
Meet Jill Prewitt
Meet Terril Efird

BASELINE (n) - Information about what is "normal" or expected. This kind of information helps researchers measure change.

DATA (n) - factual information





Dr. Polasek decided that, because her research questions were complex, they would take many years to answer. Her first goals were to establish a baseline and test out their monitoring method. To accomplish these goals, in the first year of the project the team would only set up cameras at sites in Bristol Bay. Haulouts in Bristol Bay are "established". This means that walrus are known to haul out there every summer. The animals in Bristol Bay are males. Although male walrus do not depend on summer sea ice, their behavior at haulouts will give researchers the baseline they need to make comparisons with females and calves in the north. As Dr. Polasek explained in her research hypotheses, she hopes to find out whether walrus at new haulouts in the Chukchi Sea will react differently to disturbances than walrus at established haulouts in the southern parts of the Bering Sea.

Installation took the research team on remote adventures as they installed cameras at five sites in Bristol Bay:

  • Round Island (West Main)
  • Round Island (First Beach)
  • Cape Peirce
  • Hagemeister Island
  • Cape Seniavin

The two videos below highlight the experiences of our scientists as they set up cameras for the 2011 summer season.

VIDEO: Round Island

Join our researchers as they head out to Round Island to place the first set of cameras. (3 minutes)

Video Transcript


VIDEO: Cape Seniavin

Learn about the researchers’ next adventure: placing remote cameras on Cape Seniavin. (1.5 minutes)

Video Transcript

With their cameras in place, data collection began! Since the scientists were trying to observe walrus disturbances, it was very important that they not disturb the walrus during the actual study. For this reason, they visited the Bristol Bay haulouts in early spring and late fall, when the walrus were not present. This meant many months of images were recorded! Watch the two videos below to learn about the camera timing systems and what the researchers hoped to capture on film.


Jll Prewitt describes how often the cameras are taking pictures and how the researchers chose to take pictures at those times.  (1.5 minutes)

Video Transcript


Jill Prewitt explains what information she’ll be collecting from the pictures. (1 minute)

Video Transcript

So what data did these cameras really capture? What did Dr. Polasek and her team learn? Click "Results" to find out!