Current research efforts in Bimini are being conducted by Kathy DeStefano and Kelly Melillo. Kathy is currently developing a personal project for her senior honors thesis at Northeastern University, and focusing on the nature of Atlantic spotted dolphin play behavior and its occurrence in the wild. The following questions will be addressed: how often play behavior occurs, based on our observations; if and how environmental factors, such as time of day, weather and water quality, influence the instance of dolphin play behaviors; if play behavior correlates with the age, sex, or relationship among dolphins in a particular group; if the presence of a particular individual dolphin influences the probability of play behavior occurring.
In addition, a comprehensive definition of dolphin play and the behaviors involved will be developed to assist with future research on this topic.
Upon Kelly's return to Connecticut College for her final year this fall, she will be completing an independent study based on some of the observations this season. The query will focus on the interactions between the two species of dolphins found in the waters of Bimini, the spotted and bottlenose dolphins. On several occasions, the two species have been observed interacting in apparent play and even mating situations. Questions similar to those of Kathy's Honors Thesis will be addressed.
The purpose of DCP’s research on this group of spotted dolphins is to analyze the group dynamics of Atlantic spotted dolphins found on the Great Bahamas Bank, north of the island of Bimini. Identification of individual dolphins and examination of their association patterns provides details and insight into their social structure and behavior. We will also examine if any of the identified dolphins match those individuals observed along the White Sand Ridge. To read more background information click here