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

New Article: Pec fin contact between bottlenose & spotted dolphins!

DCP has asked a lot of questions about how dolphins use their pectoral fins to touch each other (check out Kathleen & the team's long list of publications on the topic!). Our latest peer-reviewed article (that means other scientists had a read and agree the study is sound) looks at pectoral fin contact between Atlantic spotted & bottlenose dolphins. You can download the PDF for free until Nov 28th! A big thanks to our co-authors for getting this done and out into the world! Enjoy!
Our last day of data collection this week!
05 Oct 2019

Our last day of data collection this week!

This morning had our group at the water taxi stand at 6:15 AM for our last data collection session. The underwater visibility held out! (Hurray!) I was able to collect another 40 min of underwater video and the dolphins were vocal and social. Bailey had Tank with her often and Alita had Dory in infant position and they shared some tactile exchanges, too. Our divers had their last dive this morning, also – they joined Jennifer, Director of Education here at RIMS/AKR, to clean algae off the coral trees that are being grown to repopulate some of the coral reef areas. They were able to get half a dozen "trees" cleaned! We went over to Bailey’s Key in the afternoon…
dolphin group 2019
04 Oct 2019

Clouds and wind above but clear viewing underwater!

Thursday dawned … sort of! The sun stayed behind a layer of clouds for the bulk of the early morning data collection at Bailey’s Key. Still, the visibility was good, the dolphins quite social, and the current strong! I swam much during this morning’s observations but was rewarded by much social behavior. Tilly jawing at Tank. Dory and Stan rolling around accompanied sometimes by Elli, sometimes by Poli, and sometimes with Tank! Gracie had another leaf and floated it in front of me. Bailey checked out her reflection again – still gorgeous! A few rain squalls and some wind shifted the coral PVC tree cleaning that our divers were planning for this afternoon to tomorrow. Some of our scuba divers…
Stan 2019
03 Oct 2019

Another awesome data collection morning! And, Fiesta-Night Day!

Today was a bright, partly sunny morning with clear underwater visibility for data collection! (Can you sense a theme that makes me happy in the field!?) It was another 45 min session with much social behavior. Stan featured prominently in my video today as he was not only enamored of my fins but also played often with Dory and Tank, until Alita and Bailey (respective moms) decided the play was too rough! I even caught a few glimpses of Carmella in the background as she watched these play sessions (she is Stan’s mom). There was much vocalizing this morning by the dolphins also – whistles, clicks, and squawks. Our team also did some dives and had their dolphin encounter and…
02 Oct 2019

Awesome Morning! And, great overall day!

The morning session went long to 45 minutes because the underwater visibility was great! The dolphins were very social with each other – much rubbing and rolling and play over and with each other. Stan, Tank and Dory were fascinated by my fins until I raised them above the water surface a couple of times. Gracie circled around me while also swimming with Maury and Tilly. And, I watched Alita and Carmella share a lengthy pectoral fin contact exchange while swimming out of view! Bailey, Tank, and Poli swam together for a while in a staggered infant position (pictured – not the great underwater visibility!). Our team collected surface spatial use data while I was collecting the focal follow video…
AM Thunder and Lightning – Start to the rainy season??
01 Oct 2019

AM Thunder and Lightning – Start to the rainy season??

Our morning session was delayed about 30 minutes due to an early morning thunder and lightning show. Thankfully, the squall passed quickly, though today would be peppered by squalls. The photo shows a quick view from the water (when no dolphins were in view underwater!) of Bailey’s Key, the clouds and a rainbow! The underwater visibility was not great – we had about 3 m of silty underwater viewing. Still, the dolphins were playful and curious. Stan, Tank and Dory loved my fins today … Gracie played with a sea grape tree leaf, and tried to entice me to play. Many in our eco-tour group did three dives today and spent lunch at Maya Key between the second and third…
First dunk with revised MVA4!
01 Oct 2019

First dunk with revised MVA4!

Okay, so our first dunk at AKR was in the pool last night – to be sure all seals were still tight after flying to Roatan. But, this morning was my first data collection session with the revised MVA4. Revised with new hydrophones, a new face plate, and a modified tray for the camera. The MVA4 worked well and I can actually see the screen inside the housing to record the dolphins! Of course, the first entry was not without some issue – the GoPro3 decided not to record. The battery indicated it was working but I could not get it to record. I was able to hand it to John and continue recording with the MVA4 alone. Our crew…
Ron and Jill 2019
29 Sep 2019

Travel Day – always a long day!

We all arrived safely to Roatan for the DCP 2019 eco-tour. And, we were pleasantly surprised by short immigration and customs lines! It is wonderful to be back to AKR and to seeing the same folks at the resort and the animal care team. And, of course the dolphins! Several of us went over to Bailey’s Key in the afternoon to greet the trainers and to see the dolphins. Everyone looked good. There were programs and so I was able to re-introduce several in our group (Ron B, Regina, Ron R, Raina, Taylor) to Ritchie, Ronnie, French, Champ, and Lenca. The rest of the dolphin group was out in the main pool lagoon area and harder to introduce close up.…
KD and MVA4 and Dixie
27 Sep 2019

Packed and Ready to For Roatan!

The DCP 2019 Eco-tour to Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) and The Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS) begins tomorrow. Hurray! The bags are finally packed and we depart before the sun rises tomorrow … at least for the airport, our flight is a bit later than that! This trip has me using a modified MVA4. In this blog’s photo, you can see me water testing the system in the pool. You can see that Dixie is not at all interested in the MVA4 or me when we made sure water stayed outside the housing! The hydrophones are now connected through the housing side wall as “wet pluggable,” which means we can detach them completely from the MVA4 housing for travel…

A New Dolphin Gazette!

This issue is your chance to hear about the busy Bimini research season, including thoughts from our summer interns. We also include links to our podcast, The Dolphin Pod, and a belated update from Amazon River dolphin researcher, Dr. Trone. And of course, stories from Kathleen!So, put the world aside for a few minutes and enjoy The Dolphin Gazette! Click here to download your free copy.

Awesome First Dolphin - August 2019 Eco Tour

We hope you enjoy this guest blog post from our August ecotour participant, Bonnie. Thanks for the contribution, Bonnie! -------- Roger, my husband, and I with our three granddaughters, Allie, (almost age 11), Rayanne (age 12), and Taylor (age 10), met with Kelly Melillo Sweeting, DCP Eco Tour coordinator, and two other participants of the program, Megan and Sue, for a brief orientation on August 2019 Eco Tour Program Agenda that included swimming with wild dolphins in Atlantic Ocean every afternoon. This will be my granddaughters’ first experience in swimming with wild dolphins, and this is Roger’s and my second time. We love swimming with Bimini dolphins. So wonderful. We boarded the boat at 2:45 p.m at Sea Crest Marina.…

Amazing Dolphin Adventures!

Our August ecotour group has been fantastic. Though we couldn’t end the week on a dolphin-high, it has been an absolute pleasure leading this program – and I hope this isn’t the last time on Bimini for these folks! We started our Thursday morning with a beach clean-up, followed by a much needed swim. Then, we gathered at the Sea Crest and they worked together to compose the following post – enjoy! -Kel Our group is a mix of return guests (Roger – 65 yrs, Bonnie – 53 yrs & Megan – feels 22 yrs) and newbies (Sue – Megan’s mom, Rayanne – 12 yrs, Allison – neeeearly 11 yrs and Taylor – 10 yrs). We journeyed from California, Minnesota,…

Sharks, rays, dolphins, weeeeeeeee!

Wednesday was a busy, busy day for the current ecotour group (who are just delightful, by the way!). We met up at 9 a.m. and were soon headed to South Bimini. Destination? Bimini Biological Field Stations, aka “SharkLab.” While Kel gave a talk to visiting students from University of Minnesota and some Lab staff & volunteers (thanks for the invite!), the DCP group enjoyed a great tour (thanks for accommodating our schedule!). They learned all about the sharks of Bimini, especially nurse and lemon sharks, Lab’s research and even watched a “workup” of southern stingray. After a very enjoyable and educational experience, we headed back to North Bimini for lunch and rests before our 3 p.m. dolphin trip. The seas…

Dolphin photos and “Bimini Road”

On Tuesday morning, two of our guests headed to the mangroves with bonefisherman and mangrove guide Eagle Eye Fred. They may have been a little nervous in “The Healing Hole,” but they certainly enjoyed cruising through the mangroves, seeing tons of stingrays and a leaping spotted eagle ray and taking a moment at the Martin Luther King Jr monument. Back at the Sea Crest, the remaining guests and I chatted about photo-ID. Shortly after 11, word reached us that “Lady J” had arrived outside the Bimini Museum. Class was paused so the guests could grab some delicious lunch – right from the back of her car! With full bellies, we resumed our photo-ID chat, looking at photos of Split Jaw,…

Worth the Wait!

On Monday morning, the ecotour crew and I sat around the table and talked about DCP, our research off Bimini, the species found here and our role in The Bahamas Marine Mammals Stranding Network. They had a lot of great questions and we were all excited about the afternoon’s boat trip. We once again departed at about 3 p.m. and we were not disappointed with the weather. The seas were calm and there was just enough breeze and cloud cover to keep us at least a little bit cool. After about 90 minutes of searching, it was time to hop in the water just to cool off and wake up. We then resumed our search and even though I chatted…

Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

Dolphin Communication Project
P.O. Box 7485
Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985

Email us:

info {at} dcpmail {dot} org


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