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

Diving with Dolphins: Shark Edition

Monday morning, we explored Alice Town during break and got caught in the rain! When we got back, it looked as if we’d all showered in our clothes. Our class session was on interspecies interactions and we discussed the possibility of “spottlenose” dolphins. We chatted about the advantages to mixed species groups and why they might form. We grabbed lunch and then…. Our afternoon boat trip wasn’t aimed at finding dolphins (though we are always on the lookout, of course!). It was a really calm, sunny day – not quite Dr. M’s “jiggly jello” sea state, but close. We began with our surprise stop at Honeymoon Harbor (on Gun Cay). Here, we got to meet southern stingrays. We were a…

Diving with Dolphins: For Mature Audiences Only

Saturday began with our field routine: breakfast, blog, break & class. During break, some of us went to the beach (photoshoot!), while others explored the laundromat (6 bucks a wash!). With Dr. M we discussed play behavior. Tears may have been shed….over cute elephants. We talked about different types of play and why animals play. Lunch was chicken noodle soup (yum!). Our boat trip once again departed at 14:30. It was another slow day of searching, with lots of white caps. Suddenly…was that smooth jazz playing in the distance? Nope. But it was two loggerhead turtles mating at the surface. Was this sighting in honor of Endangered Species Day? Can’t be sure, but we did enjoy the sighting. Captain Al…

Diving with Dolphins: Denver the Dolphin Man

During Sunday’s morning break, some of us explored down the beach and saw the Galant Lady. We continued on to the southern tip of the island, to the old sea wall. It was a great spot for photo shoots – the models we saw leaving must have agreed. Back in class we discussed group living and costs and benefits of a social life. There are different types of group living, including fission-fusion society versus matriarchies, for example. Then, Nicole shared the short-version of her doctoral work. Hearing about her investigations into some of the things we have seen here, first hand, was great. We really liked the visualizations of the data/the dolphins’ interactions, including the sociogram. John compared it to…

Diving with Dolphins: Peas n Rice….Mmmmmmmm…..

Friday morning’s class covered research methodology, including the science behind DCP’s mobile video acoustic array (MVA). We also talked about ethograms and their use in studying animal behavior. We used our morning break to search for non-US KitKats, but alas, we had to settle for the U.S. versions. Our search will continue… We had Caesar salad for lunch (!) and then departed just before 14:30 in search of dolphins. The day started out slower than our past trips, but the sun was shining! We kept our searching spirits up with karaoke on the bow and woke ourselves up with a swim break halfway through the trip. As soon as we got back on the boat, we saw dolphins! It was…

Diving with Dolphins: Bottlenose Edition

*Ka-chow* The Colonels wake up in a fright! Don’t worry, no murder mystery here, but there was thunder and lots of rain. We were worried that we would have to use up our 2nd weather day, but by about 10:30 the sky seemed pretty much done. So, we had a little excursion back to South Bimini – with the bugs – to the SharkLab! We saw baby lemon sharks with tour guides Sarah and Wajeh. We learned some fun facts, like nurse and lemon sharks are so flexible that they can bite their own tails. Sarah told us that they go into “the donut shape” when they are stressed and they will not release themselves until calm. Lemons, like nurses,…

Diving with Dolphins: Squad Up!

Wednesday morning’s breakfast crew slapped (once again, if they do say so themselves). Our class topic was photo-ID. We learned why it’s important, in Bimini, to rely first on dorsal fins and later on other parts of the body when keeping track of individual bottlenose dolphins. We discussed the age classes of the dolphins, particularly the Atlantic spotteds. We went into more details on the spotted dolphin’s spot patterns and how those are used to identify individuals. We spoke a lot of #087 (Tilly) and #064 (Prince William) and their run-ins with sharks. We talked some more about #104 and how his new marking will be used to recognize him. We used our class break to visit the Straw Market…

Diving with Dolphins: Weather Malfunction

We started Tuesday with breakfast (Bimini breeeeaaaaddd….yuuuuuuuuummmmmmm) and then we headed to The Dolphin House. We met Ashley Saunders, the builder/artist who created The Dolphin House. He is a local historian, poet, musician – the Swiss Army knife of Bimini. It was really cool to see how he takes forgotten scraps and turns it into the house. Sam was amazed at how he can look at what others would consider trash and turn into a building. He told us about his labor love, and his positive energy was contagious. There were over 40 different mosaic dolphins throughout the property and his collection of license plates and coins from around the world showed his love of the world and the world’s…

Diving with Dolphins: Colonels (Attempt to) Get Their Sea Legs

Monday began with learning more about DCP and the dolphins we are going to see here in Bimini. We learned where the dolphins’ ranges are, how to distinguish between the two species and about spotted dolphins’ spot patterns. We didn’t know that each individual has a unique pattern – fingerprints! We learned how to tell the difference between males and females: males look like an exclamation point where as females have a long slit and mammary slits. We also had our boat safety and dolphin swim etiquette orientation. After lunch we headed to the boat and met our crew: Captain Al and Denver. Right away, the waves were playing tricks on us and we thought we saw dolphins everywhere. We…

Colonels Touchdown!

We are back in the swing of university courses at DCP’s Bimini, The Bahamas field site. This time it’s Dr. Radhika Makecha and 14 Eastern Kentucky Colonels for 12 nights. The bar is high after the great UNBSJ course and we have even higher hopes this program. As usual, the students will be taking over the DCP blog – we hope you enjoy it! -Nicole & Kel On Sunday, our flight from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini was the shortest flight we’d ever been on: 16 minutes from take-off to landing. The South Bimini airport was much different than what we’re used to – very small! And, it was the fastest immigration and customs we’d ever been through, and friendly. Holly…
Wanderer Bracelets promotes DCP with their dolphin bracelet!
10 May 2019

Wanderer Bracelets promotes DCP with their dolphin bracelet!

We just received notice from Wanderer Bracelets of the new video showcasing their dolphin bracelet and DCP!  Newcomers to DCP’s web site might not know that Wanderer Bracelets is a supporter of DCP’s research and education programs. In fact, DCP receives 10% from the sale of each Wanderer dolphin bracelet! Take a look at the video they just finished. Then, visit Wanderer’s web site to get your own dolphin bracelet today and support DCP even more! And, you’ll look stylish in your support! You can view the video at this link.   

Crispy Canadians Last Full Day

Friday was the UNBSJ students’ last full day on Bimini. It has been a really great group! Nicole and I always look forward to our Bimini field courses and this was no exception. The students spent the morning writing yesterday’s blog post and discussing eco-tourism in the context of their experiences this week. Then it was skiff rides to a small mangrove island on the edge of Bimini harbor. A little free time and a quick lunch and suddenly it was time for our last dolphin trip. We headed out and though there was still a stiff wind, it was calmer and sunnier than yesterday. We hoped this would make it easier to find dolphins, but first up: “3 Sisters”…

How was your trip? (We saw Lamda, DCP ID#104!!)

Thursday morning, we had lecture time – topics included coral reefs, lionfish and the Bahamas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. During the network talk, we learned about DCP ID#104 (aka “Lamda”) who stranded last summer and was rescued, rehab’d and released. His tagging info was really interesting (he went so far!!) and Kel is clearly obsessed with seeing him again (see this blog post for details on his last sighting). Our boat trip began with a snorkel stop at “The Bimini Road” (aka Atlantis, The Road to Atlantis). Jen & Shandraya found a rock that really looked like a skull. We were on the lookout for turtles, but Joy had to shiver back to the boat without a sighting. Dolphin searching…

Saving the world, one straw at a time

On Wednesday, the gnarly wind continued so we were trapped inside – which gave the crispiest of us a break from the sun. It was very nice to have the break, but after several lectures, we were getting antsy. Our lectures covered sharks and photo-ID. In between lectures, some of us discovered The Dolphin House and got an impromptu tour from its builder, Mr. Ashley Saunders. Others visited Bimini’s “Straw Market,” just across from the Sea Crest. The ladies in the stalls were so nice to us. Thank you, Ashley & Straw Market Ladies! After the photo-ID lecture, we practiced on archived DCP photographs before working to ID the two spotted dolphins we observed on Sunday. They were Romeo (#010)…

Hold onto your hats!

On Tuesday, after breakfast, we wrote our first blog entries for DCP’s website. Then, after three days, we finally had our first lecture of the course – not complaining! Nicole gave us an overview of DCP, including their methods, study sites and species. Next up, the first teams presented their assigned cetacean research papers before lunch. Luckily, the weather cooperated enough for us to get out on the water. We headed out around 2:00, checking the coastline for dolphins before the waves got too big due to the “gnarly wind.” We were fortunate to see two bottlenose dolphins! One was small, so we presume that it was a mother/calf pair. At first, they seemed interested in the boat, checking it…

Getting Crispy

On Monday, officially the best day of Mia’s life, we shifted our boat schedule and departed shortly after 10 a.m. The weather forecast for mid-week is windy, so we’re trying to get in lots of experiences before potentially getting stuck on shore. Before we even reached our destination, we saw three loggerhead turtles. We got really great views of two confirmed males, and a possibly third male. As we continued on, we saw another turtle on our way to Honeymoon Harbor. As we pulled up, we immediately saw southern stingray, a green turtle and nurse sharks. In the water, got really up close and personal with these creatures and saw a sharpnose shark and a lemon shark. Some of us…

Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

Dolphin Communication Project
P.O. Box 7485
Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985
USA

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