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

Waves and Dolphins. Ah.

On Thursday, I headed to the Sea Crest to chat with this week’s Bimini Adventures guests during their yummy lunch. They have had a great week exploring Bimini and observing the dolphins and it was nice to share DCP’s work with them, answer their questions and hear their experiences. Soon enough, it was time to wrap up so we could all get ready for the boat trip! We departed in a stiff breeze so we not surprised to see large swells and plentiful white caps as we approached the tip of the island. Still, everyone stayed optimistic and eagerly searched for dolphins. Suddenly, a single bottlenose dolphin approached the bow, surfing its way past us. Just as quickly as it…
Travel Home and Field Data Summary
13 Aug 2018

Travel Home and Field Data Summary

Saturday was our day of travel. Luckily, our flights were in the afternoon on Saturday. That meant we could do an early morning kayak (to Bailey’s!) and some morning yoga. Dr. H and Dr. D let all the Snorkelin’ Snakes know they could join us at ~6 am for these events! Still, we had only one participant – Kassandra! Our kayak was lovely – with a calm sea and slight breeze. We said good morning to the dolphins and wrapped up the early morning with a relaxing stretch yoga session!The airport on Roatan was BUSY! The wait lounge is much expanded and we had a relatively calm wait for our flights. The week was a huge success with several student…
Dolphin Days are Over
11 Aug 2018

Dolphin Days are Over

The snorkel after data collection on dolphins was amazing! Kassandra’s favorite fish was the parrotfish. And we saw a sea turtle and a barracuda from the boat – both were amazing!Paige had her best dolphin observation on our last day – the dolphins were extra loud this morning which was good for Paige because she was documenting dolphin vocal behavior.Tank visited Alex P and Jessica three times … just to see us and play and hang out!Kim confirmed that the dolphins were very vocal and active during morning observations – it was a two-thumbs up session!Sam was pleased to be able to experience Gracie’s echolocation this afternoon. Teri had all the students get into the water to experience Gracie searching…
Murky Mangroves
10 Aug 2018

Murky Mangroves

We began the day with data collection while Dr. D was in the water. It was the most interactive that Paige has seen since we’ve been here this week. Gonzalo said that one of the most interesting things was all the new behaviors we saw this morning, such as barrel rolls and some object play. There were also some odd combinations of dolphins this morning and they were playing in trios and small groups. Alex C saw a puffer fish when doing the observations this morning for the sea grass biodiversity study. Actually, this morning there were two concurrent data collection sessions – while Dr. D was observing dolphins, a portion of the class was assisting Soledad and Grant with…
Day 5 – Turtle Lovin’, and other aquatic animal observations
09 Aug 2018

Day 5 – Turtle Lovin’, and other aquatic animal observations

The day began wet – the evening was riddled with thunder storms that kept many of us awake. The dawn was behind the clouds and the beginning of the dolphin observations were rainy. Some of us got to sleep in a little bit longer because our groups split up for data collection sessions – some watching dolphins and others assessing biodiversity over seagrass. Mike never meets a stranger, even when he’s doing research. The visitors at Baileys thought he was one of the RIMS staff; he greeted folks with a smile. Grant and Soledad’s group kayaked and snorkeled in an effort to videotape the sea grass for the biodiversity study. (Can you tell the morning was data-collection-filled?!)Some of us spent…
Day 4 - Nighttime Adventures
08 Aug 2018

Day 4 - Nighttime Adventures

Our morning began as usual with data collection for DCP and Dr. D. The dolphins were especially active this morning! Paige got splashed by one of the dolphins while doing observations. We had a lively breakfast that included a birthday song for Kassandra (and Dr H. sent happy birthday wishes to Katie, her daughter!). The AKR team had a nice coconut cream pie with Happy Birthday written on the plate! We had a very enticing cognitive lecture this morning. We learned the parallels between dolphin and human intelligence. After the lecture, the group split up to collect data on two different student projects. Paloma, Jesus, Alex C., Ashley, Mike, and Emily stayed with Dr. D to learn about video logging…
The Sensual Dolphin Experience
07 Aug 2018

The Sensual Dolphin Experience

Our morning began with a BOOM! It was a dark and stormy morning and mother nature gave us a wake-up call with a thunder alarm. But the rain and storminess were short-lived and the skies cleared to blue from cloudy before we water-taxied to Bailey’s Key for data collection and observations. The dolphins were much more active at the surface this morning than yesterday. We observed lots of play, lots of body and pec slaps and jaw claps. We saw some speed swims and chases. We also had our first official data collection session for our own research projects. It was exciting because we got to pull the reigns (from Neptune … maybe) and apply our protocols for our studies.…
Day 2 – Snorkeling in Salt Water, Getting our Feet Wet
06 Aug 2018

Day 2 – Snorkeling in Salt Water, Getting our Feet Wet

Everyone was on time, early in fact, for our data collection session. We met at the water taxi stand at 6:45 for our boat ride to Bailey’s Key. We got to observe our first interaction with Dr. D and the dolphins. Alex P. got to play fetch with Dory with a red leaf, they played about 6 times. Emily made friends with all the resident cats on Baileys and one helped her collect data. Several of us met the dolphins up close from the trainers – we got to sit with a few of them to learn more about each of the dolphins and be able to recognize some of their marks for ID. Free time consisted of paddle-boarding successfully…
Finally Here!
05 Aug 2018

Finally Here!

Our day began at ~4 AM to travel to the airport to begin our trek south. This field week on Roatan is a culmination of our spring class called PS4363 – Roatan Field Study. We were on summer break and traveled from as far as El Paso to get to San Antonio for our flight. We learned that a few of us have turbulence sensitivity! Thank goodness for pretzels and ginger-ale! On arrival, we went through the immigration line for about an hour and then swiftly got our bags and headed via shuttle to Anthony’s Key Resort. We were greeted by LOTS of stairs to get to check in. We were a bit surprised by the lack of humidity we…

The Week Wraps Up

On Friday, the breeze in Bimini was still stiff, but with sunny skies we departed at 1500 in search of dolphins. We did not see any along the shore and the guests, who have been to Bimini many times, asked to stop at 3 Sisters for a quick snorkel. After they toured the biggest rock, we were soon on our way again… It seemed the seas were going to get the better of us when Captain Al suddenly saw two bottlenose dolphins at the bow. They disappeared just as quickly though and with the swells, white caps and murky water, we did not see them again. We continued our search and it was only when we were close to home…

What waves?

On Wednesday, I joined Bimini Adventures’ guests on “the small boat” and headed in search of dolphins. The seas were much rougher than Monday and Tuesday and while we searched for dolphins, we could see squalls building to the east. Sure enough, we never did find any dolphins, but we did find some beautiful rain storms. We were able to stay clear of the largest of the storms and while we tried to avoid the smaller, later squall, we had to accept some rain drops. Thankfully, it wasn’t that bad and, in fact, it was quite beautiful cruising through the steady rain as the sea surface calmed and left only the impressive swell. Thursday was another great day with Captain…
Packed and Ready to Fly South!
02 Aug 2018

Packed and Ready to Fly South!

It’s not that I can pack for my field sessions in my sleep. It’s that I have a trusty “to-include” list that makes packing easy with each passing year! The MVA and hydrophones are tucked into their bag with care and cushioning. Mask, fins, snorkel are snuggled adjacent to wet suit, bathing suits and rash/sun guard shirts. The cameras are in my carryon bag along with the data notebook with blank sheets waiting for observations of dolphin behavior and vocal activity!I’ve connected with Dr. Heather Hill via email to confirm the student group is ready—the group joining me at Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) and the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS) for a week of observations and data collection is…

Surf’s Up!

On Tuesday, it felt great to get back on the water and search for dolphins. Plus, this week’s guests are a couple who has been chartering Bimini Adventures for several years and I always look forward to chatting with them. The sun was shining and although the breeze was strong, the seas started out calm enough. Soon, however, clouds were building to our east and south and, with that, the seas really kicked up. As I watched Captain Al assess the weather, I felt the boat turn. He’d also seen dolphins! One dolphin leapt clear out of the water, but when we reached the spot, we couldn’t find any….for a moment. Soon, there were at least 16 Atlantic spotted dolphin…

Water spout yields to calm seas

Nat used the word bittersweet in two recent posts – and the feeling applies to Friday as well. A short but strong thunderstorm woke everyone early, but soon I had my kids scooped up and piled on the golf cart. We picked up Nat and her suitcase and dropped her to the water taxi. Her five weeks on Bimini had come to an end and we were all sad to part ways. I share Nat’s hope that this was, in fact, a “see you later….” I’m so grateful for all of the assistance in the field so far this summer: Master’s student Nicole, Short Field Experience (SFE) interns J.P. and Frankie, returning intern Patrick and, of course, Nat. Interns provide…

One Last Time

Thursday was another day full of bittersweets. Bitter because it was my last day on the island, but sweet because of all the adventures that day held. I woke up early at the ripe time of 6:30 am to start brewing the coffee and to wrap up some of the photo IDs I had been previously working on. Then I strolled over with my fins and mask in hand over to Neal Watson’s Bimini SCUBA Center to go on a two tank morning dive. It was my last time diving on Bimini, and I definitely sad it was my last couple of dives, but I was still excited for what was to come because we were going on a wreck…

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

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