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

Dolphins, Snorkeling, and Fiesta Night!
16 Jan 2020

Dolphins, Snorkeling, and Fiesta Night!

Our morning data collection was rain-free! It was quite pleasant to watch the dolphins as the sun came over the mountain behind us. The dolphins were very social and Sandy and Calli were near the surface rolling and playing often. Everyone was much more centered and focused when collecting the space use observational data, also. The activity levels were more clear and confirming numbers of dolphins in each area was more reliable for us. We even took a group photo while waiting for the water taxi (see the blog front photo)! We made our way over to breakfast after this data collection session and were very pleased that the rain held off until we were almost done eating. The dining…
Diving in the Dark!
15 Jan 2020

Diving in the Dark!

We just finished dinner, which was preceded by our first ever, collectively night snorkel. Some of us were lucky enough to see a lionfish or an octopus or a sea cucumber! We also saw a puffer fish. We entered the water at dusk and then exited when it was fully dark. It was eerie and surreal at the same time. The afternoon had a break before our night snorkel that allowed some of us to kayak or paddleboard … or nap. This break was after our informal lecture at the pool about how dolphin calves swimming in echelon position swim faster with fewer fluke strokes to cover longer distances than calves swimming independently (from Noren et al. 2008). It was…
Dolphins, Maya Key … Risotto!
14 Jan 2020

Dolphins, Maya Key … Risotto!

Our morning began with a downpour! And yet, we all got to the water taxi stand before Kathleen and Justin! Luckily, the rain subsided as we began our first session of space use data collection. Today was our visit to Maya Key. The group has their comment(s) about today. Emily – I was able to identify some of the individual dolphins this morning – Callie and Sandy and Bailey! Annie – I saw some trumpet fish and some cool sea urchins. Izzy – today when I was snorkeling I saw my favorite fish in the entire world – a puffer fish! I was thrilled and screamed through my snorkel in delight! Kate – I got to watch a parrot fish…
First full day – dolphins, fish, corals and more!
13 Jan 2020

First full day – dolphins, fish, corals and more!

Our first day was a good one with everyone up and at the taxi dock before 6:30 AM for our first data collection session! The dolphins were playful and social – mostly with each other, which was a good thing! Champ and Stan occasionally sought out Kathleen’s fins to play and one or two dolphins tried to entice one or more of us to play the seaweed game but we resisted. Breakfast (and lunch and dinner for that matter) were as delicious as Justin promised in our various pre-trip meetings. The rest of the morning was spent in two classrooms – one indoor that is lined with all types of displays presenting the fish and coral and other creatures that…
The URI students arrive!
12 Jan 2020

The URI students arrive!

Our ecotour group departed this morning and the URI students arrived mid-afternoon. We hit the ground running with their initial orientation on arrival followed by Jennifer’s facility orientation even before they went to their rooms to check things out and unpack their bags. The students were troupers considering their travel started at ~1:00 AM with a ride to the airport, then two flights, and a shuttle bus ride to get to AKR and RIMS. But everyone was energetic and enthusiastic for the arrival and first meal, dinner. Tomorrow will start at 6:30 AM with data collection followed a lecture and some snorkeling. This morning had the eco-tour group assisting me with another data collection session (Thank you Manon for the…
TGIF – A sunny day with awesome data collected!
11 Jan 2020

TGIF – A sunny day with awesome data collected!

We had a great day with the sun rising brightly and the sky relatively free of clouds. And, really good, clear underwater visibility. And, equipment that worked as expected! Thankfully, Lenca spent more time with Ronnie this morning than investigating my fins! Tank and Dory circle swam around me but they had nothing on Stan who zoomed in tight circles creating many bubbles around me! Bubbles seemed to be the “name-of-the-game” today as Calli also sank vertical in the water column and let out several rounds of larger bubble clouds. The inter-dolphin social activity was low-key this morning with several parallel swims and rubbing between dolphins. Poli and Champ spent time slow swimming as did Gracie, Maury and Elli. The…
Strong Current!! Technology Issues!
10 Jan 2020

Strong Current!! Technology Issues!

I have a dedicated team of participants with me this week – Manon, Rachel, Ron, Bill, Madison, Jeff, and John all joined me at 6:30 for the AM data collection session. The water was ok for clarity but the current was strong! The dolphins were curious and playful and the cameras persnickety! Yes, technology was a tad bit of an issue. For reasons unknown, the GoPro decided not to record any of the session, though it had the red camera thingee suggesting it was recording. (maybe it took the day off!) And, for the MVA footage – the audio is great but the video is dark. Somehow, I accidentally pushed the button such that the f-stop was locked open. Sigh.…
Clear Underwater Visibility and Social Dolphins!
09 Jan 2020

Clear Underwater Visibility and Social Dolphins!

I could not ask for anything more … ok, well, except maybe a tad less current to swim against! I earned my breakfast this morning and more than once felt like the dolphins were chuckling at me as I tried to keep up with them as they seemingly effortlessly glided across the current and the wavelets. Tilly and calf and Maury swam by several times this morning. And, Ronnie even pushed Stan and Lenca a bit away from me! Maybe Ronnie thought they were too close to my fins or paying too much attention to my fins! Elli and Lenca each played with a small clam shell – Elli draped it over her right pectoral fin and then mouthed it…
A sunshine-y day!
08 Jan 2020

A sunshine-y day!

The sun greeted us today (7 Jan 2020)! It was a welcome site after 1.5 days of wind, rain and more wind and rain, as well as choppy seas and waves. The divers in our group had to be ready by 7:30 for their first boat dive as the boats were still on the west side of Roatan. So, it was Manon and Rachel for surface observations with Madison and Jeff assisting for the first ~half of the session this morning. The current was less than Sunday morning (but still gave me a good workout!) and the underwater visibility was AWESOME! I was able to see everyone (i.e., dolphins) underwater … even at 7+ meters away. There was much socializing…
It was a dark and stormy … day!
06 Jan 2020

It was a dark and stormy … day!

Our dedicated eco-tourists joined me at 6:30 to try to collect data. The current was wickedly strong and there were rolling waves breaking over the reef. You can see in the photo me getting out after ~3 minutes in the water. There is a dolphin watching me … I got in and then swam hard to get to the side to get out. The storm front meant that the staff moved the floating platforms to one side of the large lagoon area. It rained all day and was stormy. So, we spent time drawing the sketches for each dolphin and beginning the video logs. We also chatted about dolphins and some various research questions and protocols. It was a good…
Transitioning!
05 Jan 2020

Transitioning!

The CSU group helped me collect data this morning and we did one more each of baseline and KD space use data collection. It was a breezy morning but the underwater visibility was really good! And, the dolphins were social, but mostly below the water surface. After data collection, we had breakfast and then the CSU group left for the airport. They were all traveling much today to return home and prepare for school. We had a great week! Arriving today were Bill, Ron, Madison, Jeff, Rachel, Manon, and John for our research eco-tour. We have a week to collect data with some folks diving, and some focusing on the research. The weather might not cooperate these first few days…
TGIF – Our Last Full Day at AKR!
04 Jan 2020

TGIF – Our Last Full Day at AKR!

Today was our last full day at Anthony’s Key Resort – and it began like the other days … with data collection at 6:30 AM! We started by collecting space-use data and then made observations while Kathleen recorded the dolphins from underwater. Alyssa – It was really nice to work with Shane and Kathleen on our projects because I learned lots about developing a research project. Dory is my favorite RIMS dolphin because she’s a goof! Emma – I think it was nice to talk to Kathleen and Shane about our projects – we did not have to but we could ask questions to refine our projects. I liked taking observations today because the dolphins were super active and it…
Creative Minds
03 Jan 2020

Creative Minds

Our day began as usual – with data collection during Kathleen’s observations of the dolphins with the MVA. From Bailey’s Key, we went directly to a very interesting turtle lecture. We learned about sea turtles – e.g., the green sea turtle has green colored fat. We learned about the Arribada in Costa Rica. We also learned that sea turtles have several critical periods where their survival could be iffy – exiting the nest, getting to the water over the beach, and their first year in the water … Our late breakfast was delicious! After which we had a small break to ponder our projects – we could select between developing a research project or creating a PSA for some topic…
Ringing in the New Year with Dolphins!
02 Jan 2020

Ringing in the New Year with Dolphins!

We did another morning observation session and two space-use data collection sessions: one as baseline and one set associated with Kathleen’s data collection. The dolphins were really active and rambunctious this morning. There was LOTS of surface activity and we saw all the dolphins. New year – New activities! Another bomb-breakfast followed our morning with the dolphins. Then, we went to the RIMS classroom for a lecture the Marine Mammal Protection Act and animal welfare and permitting for research. It was interesting to learn about the details of the MMPA and how complicated the process of permitting can be. It was also nice to know there are many groups looking out for the well-being of these animals and that it…
Happy New Year’s Eve!
01 Jan 2020

Happy New Year’s Eve!

The morning began bright and sunny and our observations began with a light breeze. About 5-7 minutes after Kathleen entered the water to observe the dolphins, the skies opened and it rained on us. (We learned what it was to be true field researchers … collecting data under all types of weather!) The dolphins seemed to be very slow this morning and they did not immediately greet Kathleen when she entered. And, the dolphins seemed to greet the students on Platform 2 more than any other students this morning. We’re not sure if this observation is correlated but when the rain got heavier, the dolphins seemed to be more socially active at the surface. More data are required to be…

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