Just in time for the holiday! DCP is proud to share the RIMS 2013 DCP research video. RIMS Video 2013 from John Anderson on Vimeo.Thank you to DCP’s Fund-A-Geek sponsors and our trip participants! Your support made our 2013 trip to Roatan to continue DCP’s
study of the social interactions of the bottlenose dolphins who call
RIMS home possible.
My research trip to RIMS last week was very successful!
I was able to collect 6 hours of video – roughly one hour per day, collected in two sessions per day. There are 19 dolphins at Bailey’s Key for RIMS. On this trip, I met 7 new individuals born between summer 2011 and 2013. These 7 youngsters were very rambunctious and playful and quite curious about my MVA camera and me. Most juveniles are more inquisitive than older individuals of a social species, dolphins are no exception.
Our last early morning began well, but was cut short because
Polly and Ronnie decided my fins were just too tempting! I did not want to stay
in and reward their playful behavior since I’d prefer the dolphins to ignore
me. I am focused on recording dolphin-dolphin interactions, not inquisitive
actions toward me. But, the second session was awesome! The younger dolphins
were very playful and allowed to play for about 15 minutes until they got a bit
over-excited. That’s when the moms took charge and corralled their youngsters
into infant position for a collective time out.
Today was another great day of dolphin observations. I was
in the water before 6:45 AM and was able to collect a full 30 min session. Ronnie
and Polly were not as inquisitive of my limbs or wetsuit today as on previous
days … a good thing since I want them to ignore me!
I had two sessions – the early morning entry and then one
just before lunchtime.
Another great day of data collection and the sun decided to
grace us with her presence! Of course, this meant the sunblock was in copious
distribution! I was able to conduct two observation sessions today – one in the
early morning and one in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised by decent
underwater visibility for the afternoon session. Usually the silt is in large
supply but today it was not too bad … the changing tide might have helped on
The dolphins were mostly interacting with each other, and
not inquisitive of me.
My Tuesday morning data collection session was cut short
because Ronnie decided it’d be fun to be pushy and swim circles around me. So,
rather than reward such rambunctious actions, I removed myself and waited for a
second session later in the morning! During the first entry and the second, I
did check on the SM2M. It was right where we left it (hurray!) and while in the
water I confirmed that the red LED light on the hydrophone tip went on when the
recording was supposed to be happening.
This morning brought another early session. I collected
about 30 minutes of data before 7:30 AM when our team was preparing to head out
for an early morning dive. Hector and Han decided my fins were the best thing
since sliced bread and nibbled on them. It’s a bit disconcerting to have to
stop and elevate my feet into the air to get the dolphins to ignore me.
The afternoon brought a chance to deploy the Song Meter SM2M
Marine, from Wildlife Acoustics (see photo). John, Nicole and Nate helped me
with the deployment.
sun rose at ~5:30 AM. I was excited to head over to see the dolphins but had to
make sure the camera focus was set and the O-rings properly lubed. We met at
the water taxi at 6:45 and I was in the water by 7 AM. Several dolphins hung
close to the platform as I donned by fins and mask and turned the camera on.
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felt like Nicole, Nate and I opened JFK airport having arrived at 03:45 to
check in for our flight through Atlanta to Roatan.
The sprawl of gear and personal stuff is now orderly and
neatly packed into three checked bags. The SM2M is safely inside a nice secure
case on wheels. The MVA2 is in the orange “giant” case that either John or I
use regularly and is fully padded for transit from CT to Roatan (I hope!). And,
my fins, wetsuit, mask, snorkel and assorted clothing are all tucked into a
small soft bag. Yes! I am more than ready to go, especially so since we had
our first frost of the season last night.