Scientist & Educator
Director, Dolphin Communication Project
Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski has been studying dolphin behavior and communication since 1990 with a focus on tactile, behavioral and acoustic signals employed by dolphins as they share information with each other and across groups. Dr. Dudzinski is Director of the Dolphin Communication Project (DCP), conducts research on three groups of dolphins in both captive and wild environments, and oversees research conducted by graduate students from five universities who collaborate with DCP. Students focus on the behavior, acoustics and communication among and between dolphins residing at four locations around the globe: two wild dolphin populations near (Atlantic spotted dolphins) Bimini, The Bahamas and (Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins) Mikura Island , Japan and two groups of dolphins in human care (both bottlenose dolphins) at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS), Anthony’s Key Resort, Roatan, Honduras and at Dolphin Encounters , Nassau, The Bahamas.
In 2000, Dr Dudzinski’s work studying dolphins was featured in the large-format film DOLPHINS from MacGillivray Freeman Films (2000) for IMAX theaters. In the3 same year, her first book for children, Meeting Dolphins My Adventures in the Sea , was published from National Geographic Books. Since then, Dr. Dudzinski has also consulted on several documentary films, magazine articles and other projects. Her work is featured in a twelve-part, after-school adventure series for children through Immersion Presents and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She has been interviewed for numerous periodicals, for KOL, by the Girls Scouts and by NECN, among others. Dr. Dudzinski’s next book on dolphin communication is slated for publication from Yale University Press in fall 2008.
Dr. Dudzinski is available for speaking engagements with a roster of presentation topics including dolphin communication, eavesdropping on dolphins: what we are learning about how dolphins communicate, getting started with a career in marine science focused on marine mammals, behavior, and more. Dr. Dudzinski is also available for consultation in areas related to applying the current knowledge of dolphin social behavior and communication to marine mammal habitat development, science-standard curriculum development, textbook curriculum development, and more.
Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski attended The University of Connecticut, graduating as University Scholar with a B. S. in the Biological Sciences in 1989. Dudzinski completed and was awarded her doctorate in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences with a focus on Dolphin Communication and Behavior in August 1996. Her first experience related to marine mammals was as an intern with the Atlantic Cetacean Research Center in the Summer of 1987. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Three Year Pre-doctoral Fellowship in 1990 and began graduate studies with Dr. Bernd Würsig and the Marine Mammal Research Program at Texas A&M University in September of the same year. During her graduate program, Dudzinski studied communication between Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) in Bahamian waters: her focus was on contact behavior and signal exchange among dolphins. Dudzinski's graduate studies were partially funded by Oceanic Society Expeditions following an ecotour format. During her graduate school tenure, Dudzinski also assisted with, or conducted research on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in the Gulf of Mexico, Belize, Japan, and in two Dolphinaria in Europe (Kolmårdens Djurpark, Sweden and Nürnberg Zoo, Germany).
With guidance from Dr.'s Bernd Würsig and Christopher Clark (Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell University), she designed and built a new system for simultaneously recording the behavior and vocalizations of dolphins underwater . For this work, Dudzinski received the Fairfield Memorial Award for Innovative Research at the Tenth Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Galveston, Texas, in December, 1993. With David Goodson and Darryl Newborough in 1997, Dudzinski added an echolocation click detector to this mobile recording system to capture and document information on dolphin echolocation signals.
From September 1997 to 2000, Dudzinski studied signal exchange and contact behavior among dolphin individuals in a human-habituated group of bottlenose dolphins that inhabit the waters around Mikura-jima , Japan. She was funded on a post-doctoral fellowship through the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. Dudzinski was hosted by Yoshioka-sensei of Mie University.
In 2002, Dr. Dudzinski became an Adjunct Faculty member in Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. With Dr. Stan Kuczaj, Kathleen advises two to three graduate students currently studying various aspects of dolphin sounds and behavior. Kuczaj and Dudzinski are preparing protocols for gathering data on dolphin behavior with a focus on comparing data from both captive and wild study sites. In 2004 and 2005, respectively, Dudzinski became Adjunct Faculty in Animal Science at the University of Rhode Island and in Environmental Science at Alaska Pacific University.
On a more personal note, Dudzinski was married in late 2000 to her best friend, John , a photographer and cameraman. Theirs was a ceremony blanketed by a holiday blizzard and shared with family and friends. Umi , their beagle dog-child, keeps them safe from errant noises and lively squirrels.
VIDEO: Kathleen discusses her research