Shark Landings Graphing Exercise
Step by Step Instructions

Shark Graph

Note: These instructions are designed for use with the spreadsheet software package Microsoft Excel on an IBM compatible computer.

  PDF   Click on the icon to download a PDF version of these instructions for printing.

Objective: To graph commercial shark landings over the past decade.

Procedure:

Downloading Data
  1. From the September 1999 shark data tip page, click on the Commercial Fisheries data link in the fourth paragraph.

  2. On the Annual Commercial Landings Statistics page, fill in the following information:
    • Species - enter shark, tiger (or species of your choice). Note: to find other species of sharks listed in the database, click on the SpeciesLocator button and enter shark in the name search box.
    • Year Range - select 1988 to 1998 (or dates of your choice).
    • State/Area - select Atlantic and Gulf (or area of your choice).
    • Output Form - select DOWNLOAD ASCII FILE - PC. Hit Submit Query button.

  3. FOR NETSCAPE USERS

    A Save As window will appear. Type the file name you wish to save it as (for example shark.txt), be sure to end with the extension .txt. If you have choices in File Type, make sure Text is selected. Also, be sure to note under which directory you save the file. Hit Save.

    FOR MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER USERS

    Go to File, Save As. Type the file name you wish to save it as (for example shark.txt), be sure to end with the extension .txt. If you have choices in File Type, make sure Text is selected. Also, be sure to note under which directory you save the file. Hit Save.

    Importing Data into Excel

  4. Open Microsoft Excel. Open the file you just saved (be sure you have selected Text in the File Type). You will get the Text Import Wizard.
    • Step 1 - Select Delimited, Start Import at Row: 1, and File Origin: Windows (ANSI). Hit Next.
    • Step 2 - Select Delimiters: Comma and Text Qualifier: ". Hit Next.
    • Step 3 - Select Column Data Format: General. Hit Finish.

      If you see "#######" in a cell(s) instead of numbers, do not panic. This just means the columns are not wide enough to display the whole number so you need to make the columns wider by clicking and dragging the line between the letters at the top of the column.

    Graphing the Data

  5. Go to an empty cell, G1 for instance, and click on the (chart wizard) icon.
    • Step 1 - Under Standard Types select Chart Type: Lines. Under Chart Sub-type select the first chart in the second row (two lines with dots). Hit Next.

    • Step 2 - Under Data Range tab, click on the (collapse dialog) icon. We are going to look at the metric tons per year data, so highlight the three columns of data starting with the year "1988" cell (Column A, Row 6) and ending with the metric ton "6.3" cell (Column C, Row 15). Click on the (open dialog) icon. Make sure the Series In: Columns is selected.

      Under the Series tab, go to Category (X) axis labels. You should have something that looks like "=shark!$A$6:$B$15", change the "B" to an "A" making it "=shark!$A$6:$A$15". (We are doing this because the species column that lists "shark, tiger" is unnecessary for our graph, so we are eliminating it here). Hit Next.

    • Step 3 - Chart Options. Enter the titles, legend, etc. that you wish. Hit Next.

    • Step 4 - Select Place Chart As New Sheet: Chart 1. Hit Finish.

  6. To save your spreadsheet and plots, to to File, Save As. Select File Type Microsoft Excel Workbook (*.xls).

You have just graphed the 1988-1998 commercial tiger shark landings for the Atlantic and Gulf! At this point, you can refer back to the Bridge data tip for discussion questions and ideas, and for more links on related subjects. This graphing exercise can be repeated for any species, dates, or locations.