On Friday, after breakfast, we discussed last night’s movie, “Who Bought A Zoo.” The conversation specifically about the movie didn’t last long, but we were soon discussing the ethics surrounding decisions about zoos & aquariums. What are the priorities and what things could be done to improve the lives of animals in captivity? What are the pros and cons surrounding the issue? How important is the education that these facilities provide and does this lead to conservation efforts in the wild? The connection that people can develop with an animal they see firsthand can lead them to care more about that animal and its natural habitat.
Our next class session revolved around the importance of ethograms and how they are developed. With DCP’s ethogram as an example, we saw how they are a tool for documenting an animal’s behavior. We saw how this tied into yesterday’s discussion about observational methods. We’re now ready to use a focal follow and ethogram together!
After lunch, it was boat orientation because yes! We were going on the boat! We were all excited and as we departed the Bimini harbor, a hearty squall was forming exactly where we wanted to go. Suddenly, South Bimini was the destination. We snorkeled at “shell beach” and had some good finds: lionfish, a nurse shark, adult and juvenile damsel fish, flounder, southern stingray, angelfish, parrotfish and pufferfish. The whole time, a local fisherman was nearby and it seemed like he was doing well from the side of his dingy! We were called back to the boat as the squall had passed. We were all eager to search for dorsal fins as the first data team was trained on the DCP datasheet. The seas were postcard flat, but the swells grew along with our anticipation. After a few fun waves over the bow, we turned toward the west searching for confirmation of a possible sighting. All the waves looked like dorsal fins! Unfortunately we only saw waves (and flying fish!). The second data team took over and team three is ready for tomorrow!
Back on land, we ate another fantastic dinner (Nicole’s homemade recipes – ha!) and chatted about the history behind “Bimini Road,” where we hope to snorkel later in the course. Bimini Road is also known as “Atlantis” as people come from all over the world to see if it is, in fact, part of the lost city. Next it was movie time. On tap: DOLPHINS, the film featuring Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski. We’ll discuss it in the morning.