Friday began with a discussion of group living in cetaceans, including the use of pectoral fin contact in dolphins. We were able to review some of our photographs and made a positive ID of un-named #84. ID #84 has a crescent shape scar on the left side of her body. She also has some white scarring on her right side and now has scattered spots (she is a juvenile). We were also able to add a new dolphin to DCP’s photo-ID catalog! This animal will be given the ID #91. It is a very young, female juvenile readily recognized by a major notch in her peduncle. We found out that she received this injury last June, but we are not sure from what. The third animal seemed to be a calf when we first looked at our photos, but when reviewing video, it looked like it might be getting its first belly spots.
We were not able to head on our next dolphin survey because of high winds. But, we were able to get into the water anyway! Our boat captain took us across the harbor to a mangrove cluster. We were able to walk completely around this circular patch in about knee deep water. We saw a lot of young fish, including grunts, conch fish, minnows, juvenile foureye butterfly fish and a barracuda, giving us a glimpse into how important mangroves are as a nursery for fish species. We also saw a live conch, blue crab, hermit crab and southern sting rays. Looking at the root systems, we could see how vital mangroves are to absorbing storm surges. We finished up our exploration just in time to walk home in the rain.
We finished the day with chicken tacos, DOLPHINS movie (very entertaining – and educational) and ice cream sundaes! We’re hoping for calmer weather tomorrow!
The SHU Crew