Just in time for the holiday! DCP is proud to share the RIMS 2013 DCP research video.

RIMS Video 2013 from John Anderson on Vimeo.

Thank you to DCP's Fund-A-Geek sponsors and our trip participants!

Your support made our 2013 trip to Roatan to continue DCP's study of the social interactions of the bottlenose dolphins who call RIMS home possible.

Happy Holidays!!


Kathleen & The DCP Team

My research trip to RIMS last week was very successful!
I was able to collect 6 hours of video - roughly one hour per day, collected in two sessions per day. There are 19 dolphins at Bailey's Key for RIMS. On this trip, I met 7 new individuals born between summer 2011 and 2013. These 7 youngsters were very rambunctious and playful and quite curious about my MVA camera and me. Most juveniles are more inquisitive than older individuals of a social species, dolphins are no exception. It took a few sessions before these juvenile dolphins mostly would not continuously check me out; however, Polly (a 2 yr old female) decided I was her best buddy! She tried regularly to get me to interact with her. But, after a few sessions, her persistence waned (a bit) and I was able to become less interesting (at least I hope so!).

Nicole and I worked a bit on the sketches for all the dolphins to inform our processing of the video data for confirmation of ID and time on screen per dolphin. We'll complete these sketches as we log the first tape of data early next week. Cedena, an older adult female, had the most change to her permanent marks with a new smaller notch in her dorsal fin. The calves have plenty of rake marks to make recognition available.
We also deployed the SM2M+ on Monday (10/28) and recovered it on Friday (11/1). With each entry for MVA data collection, I confirmed that the SM2M+ was recording data; i.e., the LED light at the tip of the hydrophone is red when recording and off (no color) when not. It was a relief to see the light was on and the cycle working. We recorded 10 minutes of every hour for a total of 4 hours of data collected during this deployment. I've uncompressed the audio files and will begin examining those sound files via spectrogram analysis later this week and next week. I quickly listened to a few tracks and know we collected data! From these data, we'll get a glimpse at how vocal the dolphins are at night in comparison to daytime hours. Very exciting observations!
Once of the goals of this trip was also to collect some new video to update DCP's research video. Our tentative plan is to have a short video ready and available for posting on the DCP web site by early December. I'll be sure to make a blog entry here when the video is ready for folks who might want to see our research on the dolphins at RIMS. And, I'll include a more detailed summary of the data in the next issue of the Dolphin Gazette, DCP's quarterly newsletter, set to be published during the last week of November.

Thank you all for reading along with my entries and supporting DCP! I look forward to a return field research session to RIMS in 2014.



Today was another great day of dolphin observations. I was in the water before 6:45 AM and was able to collect a full 30 min session. Ronnie and Polly were not as inquisitive of my limbs or wetsuit today as on previous days … a good thing since I want them to ignore me!

I had two sessions – the early morning entry and then one just before lunchtime. All 19 dolphins were available for filming in the morning but the four adult males were engaged in other programs (e.g., diving off the reef) for the second session. Thus, I observed the adult females and their calves. There was much rambunctious play among Champ, Tilly, Polly, Elli and Mac. On a seeming break from the play, I witnessed Mac nursing from Carmella!

Gracie came by to check out the camera a few times and she and Tilly (her young daughter) jawed at each other and swam a few speed swims. There was much whistling and buzzing vocals, heard even above the cacophony of snapping shrimp sounds!

I was delighted to be treated today, not tricked. Tomorrow is our last day of data collection. I’m planning for two sessions and we will recover the SM2M at about noon. I’ve checked the LED on the hydrophone at each entry and am pleased to report that it continues to be on when scheduled and off when not!

Until tomorrow … I wish all readers a happy Halloween!


Kathleen & the DCP RIMS 2013 team

Our last early morning began well, but was cut short because Polly and Ronnie decided my fins were just too tempting! I did not want to stay in and reward their playful behavior since I’d prefer the dolphins to ignore me. I am focused on recording dolphin-dolphin interactions, not inquisitive actions toward me. But, the second session was awesome! The younger dolphins were very playful and allowed to play for about 15 minutes until they got a bit over-excited. That’s when the moms took charge and corralled their youngsters into infant position for a collective time out. Or at least that’s what they looked like they were doing since the mom/calf pairs were all visible for about 5 minutes. Then the play resumed but at a lower level.

There was much vocal activity – lots of whistles and buzzing and a few squawks audible too. Champ was whistling often and had a bubble stream almost constantly.

Our group had a dolphin encounter and swim at 10:30; they interacted with Alita, who was a bit distracted by Lenca coming over to visit a few times. Their swim was fun and one of the dolphins brought over a dead lionfish as a treasure from the sea!

We recovered the SM2M from its recording post – thankfully the PAM recorder is positively buoyant and it came right to the surface once we removed the weights. Getting the 28 lbs of weight to the surface took a bit more effort!

We head home tomorrow – it’s been a wonderful week and far too long (at 2.5 yrs) since my last visit. I’ll look at the data on the SM2M card early this coming week and will post another summary field report once I assess the amount of data collected this week. Thank you again to all of our Fund-A-Geek sponsors for your donations to make this research trip possible.


Kathleen & the DCP RIMS 2013 team

Another great day of data collection and the sun decided to grace us with her presence! Of course, this meant the sunblock was in copious distribution! I was able to conduct two observation sessions today – one in the early morning and one in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised by decent underwater visibility for the afternoon session. Usually the silt is in large supply but today it was not too bad … the changing tide might have helped on that front.

The dolphins were mostly interacting with each other, and not inquisitive of me. The morning session had Ronnie checking out my fins more than I’d have liked, but I was able to focus on the dolphins not watching Ronnie to get some good data of their exchanged behaviors. I also was able to glimpse Carmella with Ellie, Alita with Lenca and Gracie with Tilly. These calves are between 1 – 2 years old, but it was cool to see them with their moms, as opposed to just playing with each other.

I make an effort to enter and exit the water from the same platform for each session. I turn the cameras on before I enter the water and turn them off just before I hand the camera up to someone on the platform, or slide it up there myself. The picture I am sharing is from the entry of a session today. The dolphins are sometimes not nearby and sometimes all over me and so I have to slip in between them!


I’m hoping that tomorrow brings me more treats than tricks!


Kathleen and the DCP RIMS 2013 team

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