Check out the latest news from DCP, including field reports filed by our researchers busy doing science at one of our many research sites.

TGIF – Playful Dolphins and Poor Underwater Visibility
08 May 2021

TGIF – Playful Dolphins and Poor Underwater Visibility

Our last day of data collection began well with a light breeze and little surface chop. Sadly, the underwater visibility was not great – very silty, green water with lots of suspended particulates. Kathleen was able to collect about 25 minutes of video and watched Elli and Lenca play a bit and circled close to Kathleen and the MVA (pictured). Bailey swam by and echolocated on the MVA and Kathleen. Tank and Sandy played chase and keep away off to the side – Kathleen did not really see them underwater this morning. Still, it was a good day to watch the overall activity of the group – they were spread out and using most of the lagoon area. In the…
Data Collection for 3 Research Projects – and a Rinse from Mother Nature!
07 May 2021

Data Collection for 3 Research Projects – and a Rinse from Mother Nature!

Our second to last day of research and observations was full! We collected MVA data this morning. We had several create sessions with Teri and Maury, Tilly, Gracie, Bailey, Callie, Elli, and Poli throughout the day. And, throughout the week we’ve confirmed the revised details for collecting “space use data” in the main lagoon by the dolphins. The space use data are collected during DCP eco-tours and our field courses with college students. Our grid (thank you Melissa for the more accurate division of the main lagoon) is much more “user-friendly.” The female dolphins are doing well on their create testing – i.e., we ask them to do “something new” in the session … and not repeat behaviors. It is…
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
06 May 2021

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

We began our day at Bailey’s Key with flashes of “My Octopus Teacher” … there was an octopus in the shallow area to the side of the dock as we walked out to the platform for Kathleen’s entry to observe the dolphins. The octopus was stretched out and multi-colored – we really received a show. It was wonderful to watch! It was a nice way to begin a session observing animal behavior! The morning session was good despite the heavy rainfall between 3 and 5 AM. The underwater visibility was less than the last few days but the dolphins were social and playful with each other. Only Stan seemed to prefer my fins to his dolphin buddies! Lenca spent quite…
More Data Collection, a DCP webinar, and some snorkeling!
05 May 2021

More Data Collection, a DCP webinar, and some snorkeling!

Our day started EARLY – most of us woke early and watched the sunrise (~5:15 AM). Our first observation session was preceded by space-use data collection. This brings our total number of research projects this week to three: behavior observations with the MVA, collecting creativity data on the female dolphins, and recording how dolphins use their lagoon and the various spaces in this lagoon. There was a lot of object play during the first AM session and the dolphins actually showed interest in our surface observers (Bill, Ron, Rachel & Heather). The dolphins also were more vocal – with whistles and click trains audible even above the water surface. Breakfast followed our session – we’d be remiss if we did…
Early Morning Observations and Several Create Sessions!
04 May 2021

Early Morning Observations and Several Create Sessions!

We had a very busy day! It began with an early morning observation session and included a second morning session about 1.5 hours later. During the first session, the dolphins were again silent except for echolocation clicks that seemed to be “whispered” at me when I was in the northeast corner of the lagoon area (near the water taxi arrival area). The dolphins were very focused on “something” (what we don’t know) off the reef to the north of Bailey’s and Anthony’s Keys. As with yesterday, all the mom/calf pairs were together and Poli spent some time with Maury and Rocky (shown). French, Stan, and Lenca were enamored of my fins! The second session had a smaller group because Ronnie,…
Two Data Collection Sessions and a Birthday!
03 May 2021

Two Data Collection Sessions and a Birthday!

We celebrated Melissa’s birthday after dinner with a delicious chocolate cake! Of course, that also meant that the rest of us had to clandestinely sign the birthday card when Melissa was not around (thank you to Heather for capturing our sneaky signing!). Celebrating Melissa’s birthday was a great way to wrap up our first full day at AKR! We had two data collection sessions with Champ the first to swim by my MVA and “say” hello. He made several circle swims around my camera in the first morning session. The underwater visibility was very good today. The unusual thing this morning was that no one came to “greet” me on my first entry. This was a bit unusual but also…
Return to Roatan and AKR … and the dolphins!
02 May 2021

Return to Roatan and AKR … and the dolphins!

DCP's first ecotour group since the COVID-19 pandemic derailed life as we all know it returned to Roatan and Anthony’s Key Resort today. (insert sigh of relief here!) We traveled from California (Bill), Texas (Melissa, Rachel, Heather), Missouri (Ron), and Florida (me) … and even though travel was long and mostly normal, it was still a travel day! And we were all glad to return to AKR. It was a bit windy this afternoon and early evening, but the sun was shining and the sea calm. And Heather and I went over the Bailey’s to greet the dolphins. They were pre-occupied with an encounter program (Ronnie and Ritchie were doing an encounter!), but it was still delightful to see them.…

Dolphin Valentines!

Bring some dolphin love to your Valentine's Day this year! Check them out at Kids Science Activities (under Education tab) or the links below. Valentines - Platonic, Pre-colored Valentines - Platonic, Self-color Valentines - Mildly romantic, Pre-colored Valentines - Mildly romantic, Self-color
Summary and Travel!
15 Jan 2021

Summary and Travel!

This has been a very productive week here at Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) and The Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS) for me and DCP. With Ron’s assistance, I was able to collect about 6.5 hours of video data with the MVA and GoPro cameras. (I’ll be busy for a few months logging these clips!) The weather mostly held for us – the underwater visibility was great and the current strength was variable (I earned my breakfast most mornings!). It was wonderful (invigorating and reviving) to see the dolphins at Bailey’s Key but also to touch base with the people at AKR and RIMS. And, to know that folks are not just surviving the global pandemic but doing well. The…
Last Two Data Collection Sessions for January 2021!
15 Jan 2021

Last Two Data Collection Sessions for January 2021!

Our last day of data collection went well, with the exception that the stronger current was back. Thus, I got a good workout with each underwater session! The day was full of play – moms with their calves, young dolphins (both male and female) were wrestling again, and there was seaweed and seagrass play, too! I was invited a few times to play with seagrass, and it was tempting, but I remained the observer to collect the video. I.e., I try to remain an impartial observer when recording video data. Ron’s dive in the afternoon was to Pete’s Place – lots of fish and lots of sponges. It was walls, canyons, channels – a mixed reef topography. The afternoon was…
Mostly Dry Surface Observation Sessions Today!
14 Jan 2021

Mostly Dry Surface Observation Sessions Today!

It is amazing how swiftly we can get into a pattern … early morning coffee, plus pastry, then data collection (twice) followed by logging notes, lunch, and then an afternoon dive for Ron and video review for me. This is a pattern I welcome!! And, one we have followed each day this week. Once more tomorrow … I was greeted by continued good underwater visibility, though there was a bit of freshwater from an early rain squall at the surface. Several dolphins greeted me on entry (see cover photo of Stan, Tank, Champ, Elli, Lenca). This morning’s data collection also featured several “wrestle” sessions among the dolphins. Usually, it’s 3-4 male dolphins rolling all over each other while periodically mounting…
A Sunny Morning, No Current, and Social Dolphins!
13 Jan 2021

A Sunny Morning, No Current, and Social Dolphins!

The morning was very quiet and I woke early to greet the day and watch the sun brighten the sky! I also watched an Egret get breakfast before we prepped for data collection. I was delighted by nearly zero current during our first observation this morning. Of course, I think some of the dolphins took every advantage of the clear water and no current because there were rough-and-tumble social groups in several spots in the lagoon at the same time. Ron filled two slates this morning with his notes! Stan, Champ, and Tank alternated playing with each other and with my fins. Lenca spent much of the morning with Lenca, which was fine by me. I also watched Calli and…
Peak-a-boo Sunshine with Social Dolphins!
12 Jan 2021

Peak-a-boo Sunshine with Social Dolphins!

The morning dawned calm with a slight breeze and I experienced a mild current and good visibility underwater. I was a happy dolphin researcher! Ron was also happy to stay dry while logging surface observations. And, there was much social activity above the water, as well as below the surface this morning! Of course, Lenca, Stan, Champ, and Tank repeated their fascination with my fins but I was VERY surprised by Ronnie’s behavior early in the first morning session! Ronnie seemed to get agitated with Stan when the latter was pulling at my fins. So much so that Ronnie chased Stan away from me and then swam a circle around me … almost as if to say “there, you’ve a…
Drizzle, Rain, Downpour! With good underwater visibility and dolphins!
11 Jan 2021

Drizzle, Rain, Downpour! With good underwater visibility and dolphins!

It might have been raining topside, but the underwater visibility was great! And, the dolphins were playful! While it’s true that Lenca, Stan, Tank, and Champ thought my fins were their long-lost toys, the dolphins also had fun playing with the seaweed and sea grasses. The current was still there and moving the flora along at a swift pace. Calli, Lenca, and Bailey each tried to entice me to play seaweed fetch, or maybe toss, with them! It was hard to decline, but I did until just before I got out and the MVA was on the platform. Then, we shared a toss or two. Ronnie and Ritchie still have their sights set on Gracie, who made a few slow…
Wind, Current, Data Collection, Ron’s Arrival
10 Jan 2021

Wind, Current, Data Collection, Ron’s Arrival

I had a slow morning that was punctuated by clouds, gusty winds from the North, and a REALLY strong current! I woke early to assemble the MVA and prep my gear for the first session of data collection in 2021. Since Ron arrived in the afternoon, I waited to conduct my first underwater session until after the training team arrived and moved dolphins around and fed breakfast. It was a good feeling to observe the dolphins from the dock AND remember everyone … there are a few new rakes on a few individuals, which I’ll share as the week progresses. This view is Sandy and Tilly – Sandy is more to the right and you can see a few healing…

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Dolphin Communication Project
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