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

TGIF - especially when in the field for research!

Friday was less windy but still a very full day! We were able to complete three sessions with each dolphin (hurray!) following our revised research protocol. We shifted our focus to assessing what preference the dolphins might have for each symbol (circle vs. star) and also identified a roster of ‘rewards’ for each symbol that the trainers currently consider “a little” or “a lot” for each specific dolphin. To rewind a bit - we we receiving results that were perplexing when coordinating training to assess whether the dolphins would consistently select the star (a lot). We saw a side bias and selection of the circle more than the star. So, either the dolphins were playing us or something else might…

Wind, Sun, Data Collection!

We had a wild ride on the ferry into Blue Lagoon Island on Thursday because of a rolling well and high winds. It was a reminder of just how unpredictable the ocean can be to folks who spend their lives on and around it! We were able to conduct four sessions with Zig and Ludwig and to see if Finn might participate a bit in these request sessions. That is, we are looking to see if the dolphins will show a preference between two symbols - a circle and a star. The circle equates to only a little of something while the star means “a lot”! So if we use fish, the circle would be 1 capelin and the star…

Limited Edition DCP Shirts!

It's baaaaaaack! Your chance to get a DCP shirt! This year, our adult short sleeve (5 colors) and adult long sleeve (white & gray) feature a throwback to DCP's original logo. 2020 is our 20th Anniversary! Women's tanks (2 styles, 4 colors each) and UPF50 rashguards (4 colors) are also available featuring our current logo. This special order period ends on Monday (Nov 18th). Shirts and bundles are expected to ship ~26 December. So, while they won't arrive for Christmas & Hanukkah, they will be worth the wait. By pre-ordering your shirt, you help DCP reduce the overhead of placing the shirt order with our printer (Thank you!!). Click here to order yours now!

An Excellent Data Collection Day!

On Wednesday, we were able to conduct 4 sessions each with Ludwig and Zig for the delay gratification early training (to assess preference between the circle and star) and we also were able to get 3 sessions with Finn. It was a productive day and in this photo, you can see Heather and Te-Shalla setting up for a session with Ludwig. Both Zig and Ludwig are showing a side bias in their selection of the symbols, even though they both switched sides between sessions! Finn was new to this research and at the end of his first session decided to make both Heather and Te-Shalla wet with a high breach! We also collected several 5-min respiration samples of Bella, Laguna,…

Returning to Dolphin Encounters for Research!

Heather and I arrived to Nassau on Tuesday afternoon for our current few days of data collection on the dolphins at Blue Lagoon Island home of Dolphin Encounters (DE). We met up with Annette, Director of Education and Staff Development, to confirm the logistics of our visit. In this image, we are ready for our first full day of data collection! Heather and I will connect with Te-Shalla to continue our sessions to examine whether dolphins have a preference between two symbols that have been correlated to “little” (a circle) and “a lot” (a star). We will be working mostly with Zig and Ludwig, two young male bottlenose dolphins. We will also be collecting respiration versus activity level data on…

Animal Behavior & Psychology Field Course: space available

DCP is teaching several field courses at our Roatan field site. But, there is ONLY course with space available:   7 - 14 March 2020, Field Course in Animal Behavior & Psychology, in collaboration with St. Mary's University (StMU)   Remaining spaces are now open to non-StMU students. The course is taught by DCP's Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski and StMU Professor, Dr. Heather Hill. Tuition credits with StMU are not included, but are not required. Cost per student is $1550 (USD). This includes lodging, food, instruction and a dolphin swim and encounter. Tuition credits and airfare are not included. Email info[at]dcpmail[dot]org right away if you are interested! Remaining spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. To learn more about…

Calling College Students!!!

Dr. Deirdre Yeater is gearing up for her 7th field course with DCP, at our Bimini, The Bahamas field site. Field dates are May 26 - June 1, 2020. All participants must take the course for SHU credit, but with online and field components, non-SHU students are welcome & encouraged to apply. Click here to learn more and apply today! Application deadline is Dec 15th. What is a Bimini field course? This cross-listed, 200-level Field Course in Cetacean Ecology gives students the chance to learn about dolphin behavior, ecology, cognition and research - but not just through books and lectures. You'll learn by actually observing wild dolphins, from the boat and in the water! This isn't a traditional study abroad…

New Article: Pec fin contact between bottlenose & spotted dolphins!

DCP has asked a lot of questions about how dolphins use their pectoral fins to touch each other (check out Kathleen & the team's long list of publications on the topic!). Our latest peer-reviewed article (that means other scientists had a read and agree the study is sound) looks at pectoral fin contact between Atlantic spotted & bottlenose dolphins. You can download the PDF for free until Nov 28th! https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1ZtNsmjLqKcw A big thanks to our co-authors for getting this done and out into the world! Enjoy!
Our last day of data collection this week!
05 Oct 2019

Our last day of data collection this week!

This morning had our group at the water taxi stand at 6:15 AM for our last data collection session. The underwater visibility held out! (Hurray!) I was able to collect another 40 min of underwater video and the dolphins were vocal and social. Bailey had Tank with her often and Alita had Dory in infant position and they shared some tactile exchanges, too. Our divers had their last dive this morning, also – they joined Jennifer, Director of Education here at RIMS/AKR, to clean algae off the coral trees that are being grown to repopulate some of the coral reef areas. They were able to get half a dozen "trees" cleaned! We went over to Bailey’s Key in the afternoon…
dolphin group 2019
04 Oct 2019

Clouds and wind above but clear viewing underwater!

Thursday dawned … sort of! The sun stayed behind a layer of clouds for the bulk of the early morning data collection at Bailey’s Key. Still, the visibility was good, the dolphins quite social, and the current strong! I swam much during this morning’s observations but was rewarded by much social behavior. Tilly jawing at Tank. Dory and Stan rolling around accompanied sometimes by Elli, sometimes by Poli, and sometimes with Tank! Gracie had another leaf and floated it in front of me. Bailey checked out her reflection again – still gorgeous! A few rain squalls and some wind shifted the coral PVC tree cleaning that our divers were planning for this afternoon to tomorrow. Some of our scuba divers…
Stan 2019
03 Oct 2019

Another awesome data collection morning! And, Fiesta-Night Day!

Today was a bright, partly sunny morning with clear underwater visibility for data collection! (Can you sense a theme that makes me happy in the field!?) It was another 45 min session with much social behavior. Stan featured prominently in my video today as he was not only enamored of my fins but also played often with Dory and Tank, until Alita and Bailey (respective moms) decided the play was too rough! I even caught a few glimpses of Carmella in the background as she watched these play sessions (she is Stan’s mom). There was much vocalizing this morning by the dolphins also – whistles, clicks, and squawks. Our team also did some dives and had their dolphin encounter and…
BaileyTankPoli-2019
02 Oct 2019

Awesome Morning! And, great overall day!

The morning session went long to 45 minutes because the underwater visibility was great! The dolphins were very social with each other – much rubbing and rolling and play over and with each other. Stan, Tank and Dory were fascinated by my fins until I raised them above the water surface a couple of times. Gracie circled around me while also swimming with Maury and Tilly. And, I watched Alita and Carmella share a lengthy pectoral fin contact exchange while swimming out of view! Bailey, Tank, and Poli swam together for a while in a staggered infant position (pictured – not the great underwater visibility!). Our team collected surface spatial use data while I was collecting the focal follow video…
AM Thunder and Lightning – Start to the rainy season??
01 Oct 2019

AM Thunder and Lightning – Start to the rainy season??

Our morning session was delayed about 30 minutes due to an early morning thunder and lightning show. Thankfully, the squall passed quickly, though today would be peppered by squalls. The photo shows a quick view from the water (when no dolphins were in view underwater!) of Bailey’s Key, the clouds and a rainbow! The underwater visibility was not great – we had about 3 m of silty underwater viewing. Still, the dolphins were playful and curious. Stan, Tank and Dory loved my fins today … Gracie played with a sea grape tree leaf, and tried to entice me to play. Many in our eco-tour group did three dives today and spent lunch at Maya Key between the second and third…
First dunk with revised MVA4!
01 Oct 2019

First dunk with revised MVA4!

Okay, so our first dunk at AKR was in the pool last night – to be sure all seals were still tight after flying to Roatan. But, this morning was my first data collection session with the revised MVA4. Revised with new hydrophones, a new face plate, and a modified tray for the camera. The MVA4 worked well and I can actually see the screen inside the housing to record the dolphins! Of course, the first entry was not without some issue – the GoPro3 decided not to record. The battery indicated it was working but I could not get it to record. I was able to hand it to John and continue recording with the MVA4 alone. Our crew…
Ron and Jill 2019
29 Sep 2019

Travel Day – always a long day!

We all arrived safely to Roatan for the DCP 2019 eco-tour. And, we were pleasantly surprised by short immigration and customs lines! It is wonderful to be back to AKR and to seeing the same folks at the resort and the animal care team. And, of course the dolphins! Several of us went over to Bailey’s Key in the afternoon to greet the trainers and to see the dolphins. Everyone looked good. There were programs and so I was able to re-introduce several in our group (Ron B, Regina, Ron R, Raina, Taylor) to Ritchie, Ronnie, French, Champ, and Lenca. The rest of the dolphin group was out in the main pool lagoon area and harder to introduce close up.…

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Dolphin Communication Project
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