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

Ending with a Bang!
04 Dec 2021

Ending with a Bang!

Our last AM data collection session was filled with many exciting interactions and all kinds of switch-a-roos – between adult females and calves and young dolphins playing amongst themselves! After a fortifying breakfast, we returned to Bailey’s Key to meet Maury and Poli during our encounters, and then to swim with the dolphins! The swim was amazing!! It was a lot of group swimming, some speed swims, lots of interest by Poli and Sandy in several of us. There was also some rough housing between Rocky and Buzz. Our afternoon was our daytime boat snorkel, or a shore snorkel, or some kayaking … below are our individual impressions: Mary – Today I learned that the dolphins and I share a…
Rain, not-Rain, then more Rain, followed by some “fun in the sun”
03 Dec 2021

Rain, not-Rain, then more Rain, followed by some “fun in the sun”

The dolphins were playful again this morning. There were some side leaps, some chases, and lots of seagrass and seedpod play. Our observations were ‘dry’ as the rain held off until breakfast. The downpour postponed our encounter and swim from this morning to tomorrow morning because the underwater visibility dropped severely. So, we shifted to some indoor and some outdoor (between rain drops) activities. We had a brief career informal discussion followed by more inter-tidal critter GIS tagging and a bit of data entry. Lunch was punctuated by more raindrops that subsided enough for us to get our COVID tests (all negative – hurray!). We reviewed the morning’s video for ID practice and had our second quiz of the week…
Data – dolphins, space use, tidal zone critters – and Fiesta Night!
02 Dec 2021

Data – dolphins, space use, tidal zone critters – and Fiesta Night!

Our water taxi ride at 6:15 AM was smooth and deposited us to Bailey’s Key where the dolphins were playful and engaged! We had several mom/calf pairs swimming all around and almost everyone playing! Sandy was never without a blade of seagrass. Buzz and Rocky wrestled and mouthed at each other. And, there was much allo-parenting (i.e., babysitting) ongoing. Bailey hung out with Calli and her calf. Poli swam with Gracie’s calf … while Gracie was close by and monitoring. And Elli seemed to herd her calf away from Maury. And, both Alita and Maury had their calves, Buzz and Rocky, when these two males weren’t rolling over each other! Rocky: Space use data – our study to investigate how…
The Night Snorkel! Intertidal zone observations and, of course, dolphin data collection
01 Dec 2021

The Night Snorkel! Intertidal zone observations and, of course, dolphin data collection

This morning was a quiet session for the dolphins – lots of pair swims and low activity levels. But, the visibility was good and we were able to see the mother/calf pairs in group swims. After a yummy breakfast, we spent the morning identifying animals that live in the inter-tidal zones around Anthony’s Key. There were crabs, urchins, chitons, and more. Late morning had us entering our space use data and confirming GIS positioning from the panoramic photos. This is a new method but should help us examine how dolphins are using their space in the main lagoon. The afternoon saw us observing training sessions – e.g., Maury encouraging her son, Rocky to gate, and collecting a bit more space…
Instructions are important!
30 Nov 2021

Instructions are important!

Today was a great day that began with dolphin observations at Bailey’s Key (Lots of play was observed - see Tank here with a mangrove seed pod!) and then we spent the day at Maya Key snorkeling, investigating the replica of the Mayan ruin at Copan, and checking out the rescued animals calling the key home. Leo – Due to today’s incredible snorkeling experience I have decided that I would like to have more experience working with coral. Because it’s amazing how much a colony of small organisms can group and sustain their ecosystem over time in different ways. Karla – I really enjoyed swimming on the reef drop-off at Maya Key this morning. It was really hard to not…
Our First Full Day at AKR and RIMS!
29 Nov 2021

Our First Full Day at AKR and RIMS!

Today was a long but full day and included dolphin observations, classroom lectures, panoramic photo training, GPS-use training, a bird-ID challenge, reef snorkeling from shore, an inter-tidal critter hunt (with cameras!), and the fish ID lecture in the RIMS classroom. Of course, meals and water taxi rides punctuated those events! Here, some of us return after picking up our snorkel gear from the dive shop (Thanks Brie!). Below is everyone’s favorite part of their day … Dr. K – My favorite thing of today was when Dr. H and I went kayaking at sunset to try to see the green flash. We missed it but had fun kayaking. Rebekah – I liked seeing how the dolphins reacted when we first…
Travel to Roatan – we made it!
28 Nov 2021

Travel to Roatan – we made it!

We traveled from three different cities to all converge on Roatan … and we all made it! The cover photo is the group after getting to AKR, but before taking the water taxi to the key and our rooms! Of course, we were all more awake than our first group morning photo … taken at San Antonio airport! After settling in our rooms and shifting to shorts from travel wear, we went to the RIMS classroom and got oriented to Roatan, AKR, and introduced to the research and our week. Thankfully, dinner followed this orientation and we all relaxed and enjoyed a delightful meal! Tomorrow begins with a meeting at the water taxi to head over to Bailey’s Key by…
Pre-Check and Last-Minute Zoom Chat before Travel!
26 Nov 2021

Pre-Check and Last-Minute Zoom Chat before Travel!

Finally, after almost 19 months of waiting, the St. Mary’s University (StMU) student group is heading to Roatan with DCP! Our program was postponed from the original dates in March 2020, due to COVID and caution. But, this morning, we all completed our Honduras Pre-Check forms online and reviewed logistics for tomorrow’s travel. Excitement is in the air! We are all looking forward to traveling to Roatan and Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR). There are 15 students and two professors from StMU and me from DCP joining this group. We depart from three cities on our journeys to Roatan and AKR. Throughout the week, you’ll get to know our student participants - Rebekah, Andrew, Karla, Maddie, Cidney, Irene, Mia, Aracelli, Leo,…
TGIF – Sharks trump Dolphins … for some of us!
16 Oct 2021

TGIF – Sharks trump Dolphins … for some of us!

While I, John, Dave, Chris, and Louise went to Bailey’s Key for our last data observation session this morning, Ron, Don, Jill & Bill went in search of sharks! They did a morning dive looking for sharks (and found some) with a second, follow up dive cleaning the coral tree PVC mounts as a contribution to coral restoration this morning. See as Jill meets one of the sharks on the reef just below. The dolphin observation session went very well! Champ had Rocky and Lenca had Buzz for most of the session … though Maury and Alita were keeping an eye on their antics. Poli sparred a bit with Stan and Sandy and Tilly seemed content to play between themselves…
Dolphins, Diving, and lots of underwater fun!
15 Oct 2021

Dolphins, Diving, and lots of underwater fun!

We had almost everyone join us for the morning dolphin data collection observations. We rode to Baileys Key in the water taxi before many other guests were up … you can see we are all smiles and ready to greet the day! There was some sea grass play this morning – among the dolphins and with a few observers around the lagoon periphery! Louise did her first session as data recorder (with Ron). She did a good job and was able to understand some of my comments from across the lagoon! Champ and Stan, and occasionally Tank, had some fun play with my fins. And there was some socializing and chasing among the dolphins. Thankfully, Ronnie and Ritchie spent more…
Two Data Collection Sessions! Dolphins galore!
14 Oct 2021

Two Data Collection Sessions! Dolphins galore!

My morning session had Champ, Lenca, and Stan enamored of my fins. They socialized with each other also. There were some chases and lots of whistles and other vocalizations. The programs were light at Bailey’s Key this morning, so I was able to get a second observation session in at about 9:30 AM. And, we could say Happy Birthday to Bailey! We learned from Meredith that she’s 16 today. The second session was just adult females and younger calves. It was delightful to see Gracie, Calli, Elli, and Alita with and without calves nearby. Tilly actually was playing with Rocky, Buzz, and Tank for a bit of time and Sandy and Tank also played a mouthing game with each other.…
Diving, Dolphins, and Shrimp!
13 Oct 2021

Diving, Dolphins, and Shrimp!

For most of us, the morning dawned early and bright. For a few of us, morning was a tad later as they prepared for the morning dive or snorkel. John, Chris, and Dave joined me this morning for my observations and data collection at Bailey’s Key. The main lagoon was deceptively quiet with little surface activity. Underwater, about 30 seconds after entry, Sandy and Tank bee-lined directly at me! What a way to start the session! As you can see from the photo, there was LOTS of contact and very little “personal space.” Poli was my best buddy for most of the session. But I also got to see everyone underwater this morning, including Gracie! The dive crew had a…
Nursing, Wrestling, Sea-Grass Play!
12 Oct 2021

Nursing, Wrestling, Sea-Grass Play!

This morning’s data collection session was about 30 minutes with exceptionally good underwater visibility! Thankfully, only a few dolphins showed serious interest in my fins today with Sandy and Tank spending their curiosity on my fins during the first part of the session and Stan and Champ wrapping up the session with a full-on wiggle session near my fins! Calli, Poli and Elli (see cover photo) each invited me to play with sea grass … tempting as their gestures were, I resisted and watched them play with the sea grass with each other in a sort of keep-away game. Both Buzz and Rocky were observed nursing from their moms. And, Ronnie and Ritchie seemed to have begun to take interest…
Data Collection Session #36 for 2021!
11 Oct 2021

Data Collection Session #36 for 2021!

I was able to collect 40 minutes of video this morning of dolphins that seemed really happy to see me! They all had smiles! Ok, that’s really anthropomorphic … but it did seem like several of the young dolphins had missed my fins as play toys! There were LOTS of whistles and bubble streams and much chasing and play behavior. Our group met me at the water taxi at 6:30 and I was in the water about 20 minutes later. The underwater visibility was excellent! I watched as Maury herded Rocky away from me (though not before I got the cover photo of him!) and Alita did the same with Buzz. Ronnie and RItchie spent much time together and you…
Travel Day – Everyone made it!
10 Oct 2021

Travel Day – Everyone made it!

We all made it to Roatan without a hitch, even though a few connections in Atlanta were tight! I am usually on one of the early arrival flights but today, everyone else arrived before Ron, Bill, John, and me! It felt like coming home to AKR and RIMS. It was delightful to see everyone – staff and DCP participants alike! I even got to see several of the trainers this afternoon; the dolphins will wait until tomorrow morning as I had to put the array together. We all enjoyed the sunset and our group will be on the Isamar for the week with Alson. John got a nice shot of the sunset and Isamar from the water taxi stand. It…

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