Bahamas 2000

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Q&A with Dr. Kathleen (Live from Roatan!)

In this Dolphin Lesson, DCP's Director, Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski, discusses her research in general and specifically with bottlenose dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences. Several dolphins even make an appearance!

This program is geared toward ages 6-13, but all will enjoy it!

You can check out our other webinars here on the DCP website under the Education tab! Or, at our YouTube channel - subscribe today.

Original airdate: 4 May 2021

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 not have at least one mention of the delicious food we’ve been eating all week!

The DCP webinar went off without any glitches from Bailey’s Key. I (Kathleen) connected with Kel, Nicole, and our audience to share a bit about our research here and to showcase the dolphins. While answering questions from participants, we got to show our viewers Ronnie, Ritchie and Champ, Lenca, Stan and then Bailey and Tank and Sandy and Tilly. There were several programs ongoing so we moved around a bit! It was fun!

Our second MVA session was short – about 17 minutes. But it was with the mom/calf pairs and a few adult females. I was able to watch Maury and Rocky, Bailey and Tank, Tilly and Sandy, and Alita and Buzz (pictured) as they exchanged some pec rubs and other contact behaviors – very cool!

The afternoon brought more opportunity to collect create data for the female dolphins. Bill and Ron did two scuba dives today and saw a toad fish, some rays and lots of small fish. The bear’s den was their afternoon dive and we had to ask if they saw any bears! (nope) Heather, Melissa, and Rachel went snorkeling on the west side of Bailey’s Key where they saw many juvenile fish, a worm (TBD), a barracuda, a trunk fish and many more different fish. It was late in the day and all three were getting tired. Thus, the night snorkel this evening was postponed. Dinner was yummy and we have now wrapped up copying and transferring our video data to back-up drives.

We look forward to more data collection and sunny skies tomorrow.

Cheers

The SSRB 2021 Ecotour group!

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, Ritchie, Champ, Lenca, and Stan were in the back area engaged in some husbandry training sessions. Calli and Poli were doing a practice boat follow for offshore dive practice. So, our second session included primarily the mom/calf pairs and French. It was a calm session with some of the trainers also cleaning the sides of one of the covered platforms of algae growth.

The afternoon brought two sessions for data collection with our create study – with Maury, Bailey, Poli, Tilly, Callie and Gracie in individual sessions. They’ve come a long way from two years ago and regularly show their personalities with the number of new behaviors they present.

It was a very good day! Ron and Bill also had a couple of great boat dives with tarpon seen for their first time! They also saw some turtles and spotted eagle rays and got to swim along with a current on one of the drift dives. Heather and Melissa hiked to the top of a nearby botanical garden mountain. It gave them an aerial view of Anthony’s Key; however, they could not see me waiving from Bailey’s Key as their view was blocked by a palm tree! Rachel assisted with data collection and had lots of fun watching the dolphins play with each other and with some of the floating seed pods.

Tomorrow brings us more data collection opportunities!

Until then,

Cheers

The SSRB 2021 Ecotour group!

 

P.S. Bill’s feline friend, Polly, greeted him yesterday. Bill brought kitty treats with him and now Polly visits us each AM and PM!

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 confirmed that the dolphins were into their own thing and I could observe their exchanges without being involved (so to speak). All the mom/calf pairs (young and older calves) were together in the first session. And the older males were swimming in and around everyone else. The other unique observation from the first session was that it was silent! No dolphin vocals were audible to me or recorded on my MVA. We’ll have to look at the video a bit more to see if we can figure out why.

The second session was just after noon and the visibility was still quite good. There was a bit more socializing and some splashing between French and Lenca and Ronnie and Stan. The calves were a bit more exploratory.

Melissa and Heather did some kayaking and snorkeling. Bill and Ron (participant, not dolphin!) enjoyed two dives each today and Rachel helped me with some dolphin ID confirmation observations. It was a productive day!

Here’s to a good evening and another great day tomorrow.

Cheers

The SSRB 2021 Ecotour group!

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. We chatted with Teri and Eldon and Denry, Jason, Cain, Zach, and Meredith. Rona and Rocky are growing fast!

We will begin a first data collection session at 7 AM tomorrow (that's late since the sun rises at 5:20 AM!). I am looking forward to making observations and collecting data. I still have to finish connecting the hydrophones to the MVA and charging the camera batteries. So, until tomorrow, have a delightful evening!

Oh yes! Our group decided on our moniker for the week and the photo reflects all of us on our way to dinner tonight.

The Sexy Sextuplet Roatan or Bust 2021 ecotour!

(aka: SSRB 2021)

DCP Deep Dive: Can We Recognize Emotions in Bottlenose Dolphins?

In this Deep Dive, Emma Warner discusses her research into whether humans can recognize emotional expression and body language in bottlenose dolphins using a method called Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA). Emma also delves into how this type of assessment can serve as a potential welfare indicator for investigating dolphin well-being under human care.

This program is geared toward ages 14 and up, but all will enjoy it!

You can watch DCP's other webinars here our website or you can visit our YouTube channel (cleverly titled: Dolphin Communication Project)!

You can also visit Emma's Deep Dives for more from today's webinar speaker! And, Emma is also on Instagram and FaceBook as @Emmasdeepdives

And, Happy Earth Day 2021!

 

Original Air date: 22 April 2021

DCP Deep Dive: Dolphin Mouths – not just for eating!

 

In this Deep Dive, Dr. Erin Frick of Eckerd College returns to the DCP lineup. This time, she discusses studying the function of behavior, focusing on her research on bottlenose dolphins using their mouths to communicate visually, acoustically, and tactilely. Mouthing behavior is not always a simple message – context matters!

This program is geared toward ages 14 and up, but all will enjoy the program!

Original Airdate: 8 April 2021

 

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Plastic Free Seas

In this Dolphin Lesson, Ms. MaryEllen, from Mystic Aquarium, discusses plastic pollution, which is found in almost every marine habitat around the world. From plastic bags, straws, and balloons that are carried hundreds of miles through watersheds to the items that are found directly along the coastal; this presentation explores how plastics enter the waterways, the impact of plastics on marine species, and efforts to address this global problem. You’ll take away both individual and collective actions that be taken now to reduce additional plastic pollution!

This program is geared toward ages 6-13, but all will enjoy it!

You can check out our other webinars here on the DCP website under the Education tab!

Original airdate: 6 April 2021

DCP Deep Dive: Immune Function and Diving: new considerations in marine mammal health and conservation

 

In this Deep Dive, Dr. Laura Thompson, Research Scientist at Mystic Aquarium, talks about her unique research linking dive behavior and health, by studying immune responses in marine mammals. While Dr. Thompson focuses on beluga research, she also talks about the recent renewed interest in dive physiology, and how understanding the link between behavior and health in diving mammals can help inform conservation concerns in changing ocean environments … and can even benefit human health!

If Dr. Thompson’s webinar sparks an interest to learn more about marine mammal diving, then check out the DCP Deep Dive webinar from May 2020, by Dr. David Rosen. The link to DCP’s web site is here and the link to DCP’s YouTub channel is here for Dr. Rosen's webinar.

Today's program on immune function and diving is geared toward ages 14 and up, but all are welcome and will enjoy the program.

Original Airdate: 25 March 2021

DCP Dolphin Lesson: River Dolphins

In this Dolphin Lesson, recorded on 16 March 2021, DCP heads out of the ocean and into the river! Our friend Dr. Erin Frick, of Eckerd College, talks about what the river dolphins are, where they live, their behavior, how they communicate, and how they are different/similar to saltwater dolphins. This program is geared toward ages 6-13, but all are welcome to enjoy!

Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

Dolphin Communication Project
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Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985
USA

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