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

Data, Dolphins, Video, Snorkeling – all in a day!
29 Jun 2021

Data, Dolphins, Video, Snorkeling – all in a day!

We woke up and prepared to collect morning surface observations and space use data from 6 am; actually, we took the water taxi at 6 am to Bailey’s Key. The dolphins were having weird zoomies across the lagoon. They were giving us a private show – there were numerous leaps and breaches and lots of vocal behavior. This was a small group near the palapa socializing (Thank you, Davide). We are still working on our data collection techniques. After breakfast, we had a class to learn about the DCP history and current research projects. We spent a couple of hours in the RIMS classroom and some of us were chilly while others were warm. We also watched this morning’s video…
Meeting the Dolphins and Collecting Data
28 Jun 2021

Meeting the Dolphins and Collecting Data

This morning was the UofB’s group’s first data collection session at Bailey’s Key. We had a long day today and so Manon and I are writing this night’s blog post. The dolphins were VERY social and the visibility was really good. Sandy and Champ spent quite a bit of time circling Kathleen and checking out her fins. And, French joined Kathleen after the session for a rubdown. Ronnie spent some time with Annalisa, Szonya, and Alessandro trying to get them to play with sea grass. The cover photo shows Bailey trying to get Manon to play with sea grass! After the data collection, we had a delicious breakfast and then spent a bit of time with Kathleen on the porch…
Changing Groups – CSU group departs, Univ of Bologna MC group arrives
27 Jun 2021

Changing Groups – CSU group departs, Univ of Bologna MC group arrives

The CSU group had their last data collection/observation session this morning. The “cover” photo shows me collecting data and a student team on platform 3 with Shane observing from the west side of the lagoon. (Thank you for the photo, Marc!) Each of three student teams collected space use data and surface observations while I was collecting data with the MVA. It was a morning full of activity! The panorama shot shows some of the surface activity while Marc watches from a finger dock and Alexa records data on the platform. Ashley is behind the camera, taking the photo! This group did a great job of getting into the grove of data collection. And, the dolphins – several of them…
Our Last Full Day at AKR with DCP!
26 Jun 2021

Our Last Full Day at AKR with DCP!

We got up early again and went to Bailey’s Key to do observations. And, before we could start with our space use data baseline, we saw a giant sting ray and an eagle ray in the dolphin enclosures. They did not seem to want to hang out with the dolphins … Thank you Manon for the great eagle ray photo ... This morning was the smoothest day yet for space use data and surface observation data. They were VERY active. There was one dolphin breaching several times in Grid A3 space. And, then there were pec fin slaps and other surface behaviors. This was one of the most active days we remember … at least since the first day. But,…
Thinking on Thursday!
25 Jun 2021

Thinking on Thursday!

We began our morning as every other day – with observations of dolphins! The dolphins seemed much more calm today, even though there seemed to also be lots of social behavior … but it was more under the surface. And the dolphins seemed also not to pay us much attention. After our dolphin observations, we got our brains tickled … and we are all covid negative! Woohoo! After a light breakfast then we had a double boat snorkel – that is we took the boat trip and did two snorkel sessions. The first one was ~20 min boat ride and allowed us to see lots of fish along the reef. The second session was at Bear’s Den and the visibility…
We Swam with Dolphins!!
24 Jun 2021

We Swam with Dolphins!!

We snorkeled with dolphins! But, of course, first we did observations – and hopefully our smoothest ones yet – for space use data and the surface observations when Kathleen was in the lagoon with the dolphins. There was a lot of aerial activity when Kathleen got in the water. We saw them circle Kathleen a few times … they were close. Calli and a few other dolphins really wanted to play with Ashley and Sean. Maybe this was foreshadowing because Calli was the dolphin we met during the encounter. Overall, the dolphins were very playful this morning. And you can see our group shot with Calli on front! Here's a close-up of Calli. Breakfast was yummy and we also got…
Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Octopuses (et al.)
23 Jun 2021

Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Octopuses (et al.)

We finally did both the surface observations and the space use data collection during Kathleen’s morning session. We felt more comfortable with the whole process. Standing on the finger dock, Marc saw more activity underwater and it was much easier to see into the water and across the lagoon when standing rather than sitting on the docks. The dolphins were active but not doing lots above the water or at the surface. There were some speed swims and pec slaps and tail slaps. There was also quite a lot of pair swims and much rolling over each other. Breakfast was welcome – it’s the most important meal of the day! And it was delicious. Then we went to the classroom…
Crazy Coral and Silly Snorkeling! (and Pseudo-dolphins)
22 Jun 2021

Crazy Coral and Silly Snorkeling! (and Pseudo-dolphins)

Of course, the day began as a typical Monday, even in the field. Manon and Kathleen got locked out of their room – before getting the gear (MVA, data sheets, snorkel gear) for our early morning observation session and data collection. This was at 5:15 AM! The front desk opens at 6 AM … they both did the 52 steps from taxi stand to front desk before meeting with Alexza for the spare key. After the key fiasco, and Manon’s fourth straight day venting to the airline company (to remain unnamed), they finally found her bag! Of course, her bag is still somewhere in Europe and won’t actually be here until Thursday (we hope) but it still exists! And before…
Happy Father’s Day!
21 Jun 2021

Happy Father’s Day!

We have another set of observations from our student group. Brittany: incredibly long day but incredibly interesting day. It was really cool being able to see the dolphins in the morning and how active they were. And it was awesome to go snorkeling and see all the fish and coral. A long day but I learned a lot. Marc: It was amazing to start the day seeing the dolphins and looking across to Bailey’s Key and not seeing lots of movement but then getting in the boat to the key and seeing their activity pick up after we arrived and throughout the session this morning. There was more activity than I thought there would be. Alexa: I loved starting off…
Our first day on Roatan at AKR!
20 Jun 2021

Our first day on Roatan at AKR!

Our first blog entry is everyone’s impressions of the day. Emily: I’d been to Honduras before but not to this tropical of an area so when I got here it was amazing to see all the trees and the beauty. When we arrived at the resort, my favorite part was meeting the dolphins and seeing how playful they are. Sarai: I really value biodiversity with people, animals, and plants. And, getting to see something in person is very different from seeing it on a screen – e.g., dolphins. Seeing them up close is very different. And also seeing mangroves is very exciting, especially to see aerial roots. Hanging out with zoology students is very different from how things are normally…
Travel Prep, Packing, Last Minute Details
18 Jun 2021

Travel Prep, Packing, Last Minute Details

The week before travel (especially field research and field courses) always feels hectic, even when extra time is set aside to pack, prepare, and just get ready for two weeks of data collection and field courses! This week has been no different. And, the added logistics related to Covid-19 negative tests, vaccination cards, and pre-check registration(s) had all of us double checking our packing lists and paperwork (multiple times!)! Shane and I coordinated with the CSU student group (who you’ll meet in tomorrow’s blog post) to get everyone’s precheck documentation completed, and to answer any last minute questions. Yeterday morning, I heard from Manon that she arrived yesterday to Roatan and Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR), even though her luggage seems…
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…

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