Roshni Mangar ’16Roshni Mangar ’16

Where were you interning?

I was in Sarasota, FL and I was doing an internship with Mote Marine Laboratory. Within Mote Marine there are different laboratories and the one I was involved with was with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, which is in connection with the Chicago Zoological Society…

I would say there were four main responsibilities: the first was going out on the boat the first week of every month and doing dolphin IDs, and these were bottlenose dolphins, so you have a resident population (the dolphins you usually see) and then you have the transients who come in and out of the location. So we’d go out on the boat and we’d each get a specific direction—north, south, or in the middle—and every time we would scan for dolphins, and every time we’d see a dolphin we would stop the boat and take pictures of its dorsal fin, because you can identify a dolphin based on its little nicks and notches. And then we would take environmental data such as cloud coverage, sea state, glare, and etc. While doing dolphin sightings we also looked for the number of boats and whether there were any interactions between dolphins and humans.

The second week of every month we would go purse-seining. The purpose was to assess predator-prey interactions, giving an indication of what the dolphins were consuming and the prey available. When purse-seining, we would identify each fish, count the number for each species and take measurements.

The next two weeks of the month we did photo-identificatin. This tool aided in identifying individuals in the population, and is important for conservation.

Roshni Mangar ’16 surveying for dolphins.Roshni Mangar ’16 surveying for dolphins.

That was basically what my internship was about, but my senior project is looking at human interaction. I was looking at tour operators, tourists, and dolphins. Part of my project involved questionnaires and surveys. I gave a bunch of questions to tourists and tour operators, gauging what they’re thinking and what their perceptions are. I looked at regulations and policies, how much they’re really followed, and how aware of them tourists and tour operators are. I was also looking at hotspot locations in the area that are more prominent to human interaction.

My project focuses on policies, questionnaires, ArcGIS spatial statistics, and data analysis. Each component of the project is connected by the overarching theme of conservation management.

Have you mostly been studying marine sciences?

Yes.  In my first year I did an internship at Mount Desert Rock, and then during my second year I did a fellowship at MDI biological lab. This summer I wanted to do my senior project, focusing on human interactions with marine mammals. I wanted to gain skills and tools for the second aspect of my senior project, which is Mauritius (my home country). The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) was beneficial, because it gave me many skills which I will implement independently in Mauritius..

I chose this internship because the people involved in the program are very experienced and would create challenges for me. Dr. Katie McHugh, the senior project director, was instrumental to my experience at SDRP.

Do you want to continue working in this field?

Yes. I feel like my interests are changing. Initially I was interested in more hardcore science, but now I want to look more at the human perspective and human conservation and policies and regulations and how to better enforce them and better take into account what people think of them, but also see how the science can help. So I’m trying to integrate all of this, which is very hard to make happen. If you’re going to make a policy based on science, that’s great, but if you’re not going to acknowledge what the people are saying then they aren’t going to follow it. And since there aren’t enough resources to actually enforce these policies most of the time, people are going to have to willingly and voluntarily enforce them for themselves.