Kathleen Dudzinski

Kathleen Dudzinski

DCP Dolphin Lesson: How to Draw a Dolphin!
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: How to Draw a Dolphin!

In this Dolphin Lesson, DCP intern Raina guides participants through drawing a dolphin. With dolphin body part facts thrown in along the way, this lesson is a great kick-off to our Fall 2020 Dolphin Lesson webinar line up!

You can simply watch along, or grab paper and a pencil/pen or a drawing tablet to try your hand at drawing a dolphin!

Dolphin Lessons are geared toward ages 6-13, but everyone is welcome. Nothing to do in advance – just tune and bring your questions!

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out the recordings on DCP's YouTube channel.

Or check out the other webinars under the Education tab here on the Dolphin Communication Project's website.

www.dolphincommunicationproject.org

 

Original airdate: September 15, 2020

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An International Master in Large Marine Vertebrates Sciences!
21 September 2020

An International Master in Large Marine Vertebrates Sciences!

A new international Master Program on Large Marine Vertebrates is now open from the University of Bologna.
You can find a short description of the program below and the link to the webpage, where you can find more details. DCP’s Kathleen Dudzinski is one of the instructors who will focus on behavior and lead the field course portion of the program (see below).
 
This first level Master in Large Marine Vertebrate Sciences is an International program, held in English, specifically designed to give professionals and young graduates theoretical knowledge on a large variety of aspects of large marine vertebrate management and conservation, starting from the basics (physiology, biology, anatomy, etc.) and including more specific topics, like welfare, diseases and pathology, legislation concerning marine vertebrates, monitoring, management in the wild and under human care, as well as communication and scientific writing skills.
The special strength of this Master Course is its practical approach, allowing the participants to get in contact with/to immerse into the current work of different entities involved in the study and management of large marine vertebrates, both in the wild and under human care, with a 20 CFU (500 hours) internship and with a mandatory, immersive field research trip with the Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) to the DCP Director’s research field site on Roatan, Honduras.

For more information on this 18-month program (including pre-requisites and cost), please visit the Master description page here and/or the Master web page here.

 

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DCP's 20th Anniversary!!
21 September 2020

DCP's 20th Anniversary!!

The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) is 20 years old! John Anderson, Director of Terramar Productions and long-time collaborator and supporter of DCP, created (filmed, edited, produced) a celebratory film for DCP's 20th anniversary!
Grab a beverage and some popcorn and join Kathleen, Kel, and our team of supporters, collaborators, and students as we remember the "early days" and share how we began, where we've been, and what we envision for the future! Thank you to everyone who has made the past 20 years possible! And, stay tuned for the next 20 years!

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: the RIMS Bottlenose Dolphin Q&A
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: the RIMS Bottlenose Dolphin Q&A

In this Dolphin Lesson, Dr. Kathleen meets up with Teri Bolton from the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS). You may remember Ms. Teri and the RIMS bottlenose dolphins in our May 5th webinar and we’re excited to cover even more bottlenose dolphin information in this next Lesson.

Dolphin Lessons are geared toward ages 6-13. Nothing to do in advance – just watch and learn!

You can find our earlier webinars here on the Education tab of the DCP website. Or you can check out the webinar recordings on DCP's YouTube channel.

You can also learn more about the RIMS at their website or on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/roatanims/).

 

Original airdate: June 23, 2020

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DCP Dives Deep: All About Marine Debris
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep: All About Marine Debris

 

The ocean is so huge, is some garbage from humans really a big deal? In this webinar, DCP is joined by Dr. Christine Ribic of the US Geological Survey’s Cooperative Research Units Program for a primer on marine debris.

This program is geared toward ages 14 and up, but all are welcome.

Prior to watching this webinar, you might consider what comes to mind when you hear the term “marine debris.” Have you ever seen it?

Check out the other webinars from DCP this spring here on our website, or visit DCP's YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure!

 

Original airdate: June 25, 2020

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DCP Dives Deep: Whales and Hippos, Evolutionary connections
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep: Whales and Hippos, Evolutionary connections

Have you ever heard that hippos are dolphins’ closest land relative? What the heck does that mean?

In this episode of DCP's Dives Deep webinar series, listen to Dr. Maria Maust-Mohl as she explains the evolutionary connections between cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and hippos.

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome to listen and learn.

To learn a bit more about this topic, check out Dr. Maust-Mohl’s article on … nostrils!

You can find our other webinars on the DCP Education page - webinars. Or you can visit DCP's YouTube channel for more fun webinars!

 

Original airdate: June 18, 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Conservation – Why clean the beach?
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Conservation – Why clean the beach?

In this Dolphin Lesson, Dr. Kathleen is joined by Ms. Annette from Blue Lagoon Island home of Dolphin Encounters to talk about marine debris, ocean pollution, and what can be done about it.

Have you ever done a litter clean up, at the beach, the park or even on your own street? Why is litter a problem and what does it have to do with dolphins?

Dolphin Lessons are geared toward ages 6-13. Nothing to do in advance – just watch the program and see how you can help lessen the amount of marine debris!

Thank you to Blue Lagoon Island! And, Ms. Annette.

Check out the other webinars from DCP on our YouTube channel, or visit the other pages here on our website, where you can also find other interesting information about dolphins.

Original Airdate: 16 June 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Elephants vs Dolphins
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Elephants vs Dolphins

In this Dolphin Lesson, Dr. Radhika Makecha teams up with Kel to compare and contrast elephants and dolphins. They are both mammals – is that where the similarities stop?

Dolphin Lessons are geared toward ages 6-13. Nothing to do in advance – just tune in and enjoy learning about two social animals!

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out the DCP webinar here on DCP's website under the Education tab or our webinar recordings on YouTube.

 

Original airdate: June 9, 2020

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DCP Dives Deep: How seals deal with climate change impacts in the Antarctic
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep: How seals deal with climate change impacts in the Antarctic

 

Learn about adaptations of leopard seals as they deal with challenges of climate change in the Antarctic with special guest Dr. Shane Kanatous, Biology, Colorado State University!

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome. Dr. Kanatous will also let you know about how a kid from Brooklyn (that’s him) ended up studying seals in the Antarctic.

To learn a bit more about Dr. Kanatous’ research before the webinar, visit his lab’s website

And, connect the dots between last week’s Dives Deep program and this week’s by checking out this poster.

You can learn more about DCP on our website, and even check out our other webinars on the Education tab, or visit DCP's YouTube channel!

 

Original Airdate: June 4, 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Q & A with dolphin scientists!
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Q & A with dolphin scientists!

In this Dolphin Lesson, we had a panel of scientists ready to answer all of your dolphin – and general marine mammal and ocean science – questions!

Our panel included Dr. Deirdre Yeater (Sacred Heart University), Dr. Maria Maust-Mohl (Manhattan College), Dr. Diana Reiss (Hunter College), and DCP’s core team Kathleen, Justin & Kel.

Dolphin Lessons are normally geared toward ages 6-13, but this week, we want everyone to join. Your only homework is to listen and enjoy!

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out our other webinar recordings on DCP's YouTube channel. Or visit the other webinar posts here on the DCP website.

 

Original Airdate: June 2, 2020

 

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DCP Dives Deep: How do they do that? Basics of marine mammal diving physiology
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep: How do they do that? Basics of marine mammal diving physiology

Learn the basics of marine mammal diving physiology with special guest Dr. David Rosen!

Dr. Rosen is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (Canada). His research focuses primarily on marine mammal bioenergetics, physiology, and nutrition. And, in this webinar, Dr. Rosen shares with us details about the marine mammal dive response. You can learn more about his research here, at his lab website. And, here is a paper recommended by Dr. Rosen for those of you who want more than the engaging and interesting webinar!

This program is geared toward ages 14+, but all are welcome. And remember, you can find all our webinars on YouTube and under the education tab on our website.

Original Airdate: May 28, 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: The story of DCP ID#104, a stranded dolphin gets back to sea
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: The story of DCP ID#104, a stranded dolphin gets back to sea

In this Dolphin Lesson, Kel shares the adventure of DCP ID#104, also known as “Lamda.” In August 2018, this young Atlantic spotted dolphin stranded far from home. The Bahamas Marine Mammal Stranding Network responded and though things looked grim, #104 survived! He was released in the Bimini area and, after an unexpected journey south, he’s been observed healthy and back with his fellow dolphins off Bimini.

This program is geared toward ages 6 - 13, but dolphin lovers of all ages should enjoy it. No need to do anything in advance. Just tune in!

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out DCP webinar recordings on YouTube.

Original Airdate: May 26, 2020

 

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DCP Dives Deep into Pectoral Fin Contacts
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep into Pectoral Fin Contacts

DCP Dives Deep into Pectoral Fin Contacts – How, when & why dolphins share touch with their flippers

In this time of COVID-19, your last handshake, high five or hug may feel a world away. Do dolphins have their own version of these handy interactions? Kathleen Dudzinski, PhD, has been studying pectoral fin contact among dolphins for a long time. So, tune in and find out what it’s all about!

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome.

To get the most out of this presentation, you might want to check out this article. The PDF is free to download.

You can also check out the DCP Publications page for more details on other papers on this topic by DCP collaborators.

New to DCP? Check out our previously recorded webinars on the DCP website in the webinars page under the Education tab. Or, on DCP's YouTube channel!

 

Original webinar airdate: May 21, 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Sharks vs. Dolphins
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Sharks vs. Dolphins

In this DCP Dolphin Lesson, we’ll find out if shark researchers and dolphin researchers can be friends. What do you think?

For this webinar, Kel is joined by Jillian Morris, Founder & President of Sharks4Kids, to compare and contrast both creatures!

This program is geared toward ages 6 - 13, but dolphin lovers of all ages should enjoy it. No need to do anything in advance. Just tune in!

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out the recordings on DCP's YouTube Channel, including our first Dolphin Lesson on photo-ID.

Or find a list of all of DCP's webinars here on the webinar page of the DCP website!

 

Original Airdate of this webinar: May 19, 2020

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DCP Dives Deep into Investigations in Executive Function in Dolphins
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep into Investigations in Executive Function in Dolphins

 

This DCP Dives Deep into ... webinar brings you "Investigations in Executive Function in Dolphins: Violation of Expectations and Delayed Gratification"

This presentation is an exploration into the area of dolphin cognition and some ways that researchers study it. After a brief introduction to dolphin cognition and executive function (EF), our collaborator/presenter, Deirdre Yeater, Ph.D., details her studies with beluga whales and small dolphins. What are VOE and Delayed Gratification anyway? Listen to the program to find out!

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome. Some additional reading for this presentation, can be found in this article. This PDF is free to download.

You can find out a bit more about Dr. Yeater and her work at her Sacred Heart webpage.

If you're new to DCP, you can find our other online programs on the Webinars page under the Education tab of our website. Or you can visit DCP's YouTube channel.

Original airdate for this presentation: May 14, 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Fantastical Facts about Dolphins!
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Fantastical Facts about Dolphins!

 

In this Dolphin Lesson, we’ll be joined by DCP Vice President and host of The Dolphin Pod, Dr. Justin Gregg.

Dr. Justin is the author of ‘22 Fantastical Facts about Dolphins.’ You’ll definitely want to watch this episode to learn some really fantastically cool things about dolphins!

And, Dr. Justin's book is still available if you want to read the details yourself! Grab a copy at this link.

This program is geared toward ages 6 - 13, but dolphin lovers of all ages should enjoy it.

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out the recordings on YouTube, including our first Dolphin Lesson on photo-ID.

Or check out the other webinars listed on the Education dropdown page of the DCP website!

Original airdate of this webinar: May 12, 2020

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DCP Dives Deep into … Spotted Dolphin Friendships
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep into … Spotted Dolphin Friendships

This talk will introduce viewers to “coefficients of association,” one way scientists measure the social bonds between individual animals. Watch to discover which dolphins seem to be buddies among the Atlantic spotted dolphins off Bimini, The Bahamas!

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but you get audiences will enjoy it also. To learn more about this topic and these dolphins and their friendships specifically, check out this article: https://rdcu.be/b3A1K

This presentation + Q&A session was conducted with DCP’s own Nicole Danaher-Garcia.

New to DCP? Check out our previously recorded webinars on DCP's YouTube Channel.  Or, visit the webinars page here on DCP’s website under the Education tab!

Original airdate for this webinar: May 7, 2020

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Bottlenose Dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS)
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Bottlenose Dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS)

Join the DCP team as we introduce you to the bottlenose dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS) in Roatan, Honduras. Kathleen is joined by Teri Bolton, Director of Training and Research at the RIMS. This program is geared toward ages 6 - 13, but dolphin lovers of all ages should enjoy it. No need to do anything in advance. Happy Viewing!

Note: Our conversation with Teri and the dolphins at RIMS was disrupted at about 11 and a half minutes into our connection. As such, we will coordinate with Teri for a re-visit to RIMS sometime in June. Stay tuned!

Check out the RIMS online and at social media:
Instagram: @RoatanInstituteMarineSciences
FaceBook:  Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences and/or @roatanims
web site: www.roatanims.org
or also: https://anthonyskey.com/

If you missed our earlier webinars, you can check them on YouTube, including our first Dolphin Lesson on photo-ID.

Or, you can check out the other webinars here, under the Education tab for webinars.

Original airdate of this webinar: May 5, 2020

 

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DCP Dives Deep into Creative Creatures: Can we train creative behavior in animals?
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep into Creative Creatures: Can we train creative behavior in animals?

 

DCP's latest webinar takes a deep dive into creativity with Dr. Heather Hill, professor in psychology at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Hill asks how we train creative behavior in animals and also discusses how we can study creativity. This talk covers the topic of creativity in animals, including humans. You will hear about what creativity is, how it is measured, how we can train it, and why we are interested in it. Dr. Hill presents details about research with the dolphins at DolphinsPlus in Florida and the dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Science at Anthony's Key Resort on Roatan, Honduras.
This program (originally presented on 30 April 2020) is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome. For additional information on the topic, check out the DCP website (www.dolphincommunicationproject.org) on our webinars page. You can also watch a video produced by John Anderson, Terramar Productions, about Dr Hill and colleagues' research into dolphin creativity here.
Check out the DCP website (https://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/get-involved/webinars) or DCP's YouTube channel to find more archived programs. On DCP’s website, you can also find free, downloadable STEAM activities for kids (look under the education tab). Stay tuned to our social media for upcoming webinars, field programs and more!

 

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Dolphin Life at Blue Lagoon Island
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Dolphin Life at Blue Lagoon Island

Original Airdate: 28 April 2020 at 1 PM EDT

Join the DCP team as we introduce you to the bottlenose dolphins at Blue Lagoon Island (BLI) home of Dolphin Encounters, in The Bahamas. Kathleen is joined by Annette, Director of Education & Staff Development at BLI. We were even joined by a few dolphins who photo-bombed Annette as she chatted about the dolphins and we learned a bit more about them and their home.

This program is geared toward ages 6 - 13, but dolphin lovers of all ages should enjoy it. No need to do anything in advance. Just tune in!
You can learn more about Blue Lagoon Island at their website and on their social media at:
Facebook - @bahamasBlueLagoon
Instagram - BlueLagoonIsland
Twitter - @BlueLagoonIslnd (Yes, missing a)

Missed our earlier webinars? Check out the recordings on YouTube, including our first Dolphin Lesson on photo-ID.

Check out the DCP website (https://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/get-involved/webinars) or DCP's YouTube channel to find more archived programs. On DCP’s website, you can also find free, downloadable STEAM activities for kids (look under the education tab). Stay tuned to our social media for upcoming webinars, field programs and more!

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DCP Dives Deep into...Dolphin Social Avoidances
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep into...Dolphin Social Avoidances

When studying social animals, behaviorists often ask questions about individuals' preference for others in their group. But, what about asking questions about who a given individual might avoid? Scientists created models to ask these questions and tested it on bottlenose dolphins and....Eastern water dragons!

We are glad to share this presentation + Q&A session about social avoidance with dolphin researcher (& former DCP intern/Master's student), Alexis Levengood, PhD.

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome. To get the most out of this presentation, check out this article beforehand. This PDF is available at no cost to you.

Check out the DCP website (https://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/get-involved/webinars) or DCP's YouTube channel to find more archived programs. On DCP’s website, you can also find free, downloadable STEAM activities for kids (look under the education tab). Stay tuned to our social media for upcoming webinars, field programs and more!

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DCP Dolphin Lesson: Intro to Dolphins
21 September 2020

DCP Dolphin Lesson: Intro to Dolphins

Wait. A dolphin is a mammal? Its fins are called what? There are how many species? Join Kel & Kathleen as they back things up a bit and offer a general introduction to dolphins.

This program is geared toward ages 6 - 13, but dolphin lovers of all ages should enjoy it. No need to do anything in advance, other than being ready to ask questions!

This webinar aired on 21 April 2020.

New to DCP? Check out our intro webinar, recorded on 2 April, to familiarize yourself with DCP. Or peruse thorugh our website and the other webinars below.
 

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DCP Dives Deep into … Bottlenose Dolphin Crater Feeding
21 September 2020

DCP Dives Deep into … Bottlenose Dolphin Crater Feeding

This webinar was recorded on 16 April 2020. DCP Bimini Research Manager, Kel Melillo Sweeting, discusses bottlenose dolphin crater feeding and whether they have a side bias. And, of course, the DCP team answers questions at the end. This webinar was the second in our series, "DCP Dives Deep" and our 4th overall webinar. You probably already know that most humans are right-handed (we still love you lefties!). Did you know that more chimpanzees and gorillas are too? But, orangutans are more often lefties? Even giraffes, lions, chickens (the list goes on) show preference for one limb over the other. This "lateralized behavior" can be found across the animal kingdom...but what about dolphins? At our Bimini, The Bahamas field site, Kel and our colleagues were intrigued by bottlenose dolphins feeding in the sand and, time and time again, turning to the left. Hmmmmm … …

This program is geared toward high school students and above, but all are welcome. Check out the DCP website (https://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/get-involved/webinars) or this YouTube channel to find more archived programs. On DCP’s website, you can also find free, downloadable STEAM activities for kids (look under the education tab). Stay tuned to our social media for upcoming webinars, field programs and more!

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Friday the 13th!! Dolphins and more dolphins!
21 September 2020

Friday the 13th!! Dolphins and more dolphins!

Our last day began bright and sunny! We had a good session with the dolphins though they were more into their own thing today. There was much less surface activity but there was some neat underwater action. Elli spent quite a bit of time playing with a small bit of seaweed – mouthing it and hiding it from other dolphins. The “boys” (Lenca, Champ, Tank & Stan) and Dory hogged camera time this morning! They were not as interested in Kathleen’s fins but seemed to be interacting in front of the camera and pushing each other out of view! There was a lot of very “up close” footage this morning.

We also were able to conduct two create data collection sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These create sessions were with the adult female dolphins – Gracie, Maury, Bailey, Tilly, Poli, and Calli. They vary in the degree of creativity that they exhibit but all seemed to have a grand time trying something new! Thank you to Meredith for taking the photo of Kathleen & Nicole at Baileys Key!

Nicole also got in a snorkel session on the west side of Baileys. She was most impressed by the Christmas tree worms and trumpet fish. There was quite a variety of fish along the reef.

We had a really successful week with eight MVA data collection sessions that yielded about 5.5 hours of video data collected. We also watched some neat interactions between the dolphins and the weather just kept getting better and better!

Until next visit …

Cheers

Kathleen & Nicole

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Calm Seas and Great Underwater Vis!
21 September 2020

Calm Seas and Great Underwater Vis!

We woke to a calmed sea and a quiet morning. The early morning data collection session included lots of surface activity – tail slaps and rolling socializing by several dolphins. The underwater visibility was spectacular! The dolphins were quite social and early in the session, it looked like 4 or 5 dolphins were doing something odd under a platform but it turned out they had a new game! A couple of them exhaled bubbles under the platform and the others moved them around under it! They seemed to have lots of fun!

Kathleen was able to get several minutes of video of French and Champ today … they’ve been mostly into their own thing earlier this week. And, we watched Dory throw seaweed into the air repeatedly! She seemed to be having a great time!

After this session, our quick breakfast was then followed by another trip over to Baileys Key. Nicole filmed from topside while Kathleen filmed from in the water as Teri did a few innovative sessions with Gracie, Maury and Tilly. They were asked to do anything they wanted but no two things in a row! This type of session allows us to examine dolphin creativity.

Our afternoon was spent with Nicole learning about dolphin cognition and both of us sharing the video from the morning with a few other resort guests. Today was another dolphin-filled day!

Tomorrow is the last MVA data recording session for this week. We’ll start bright and early again!

Until then,

Kathleen & Nicole

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A Dolphin Filled Day!!
21 September 2020

A Dolphin Filled Day!!

Our day began with a show from both the sun and the moon! And that meant no rain! And, the underwater visibility was superb! All these factors, plus socializing dolphins, led to a 50-minute early morning data collection session! There were lots of tail slaps (regular and belly up positions!) and several fast swims and chases observed at the surface. Champ was hanging out with French except when he and Lenca zoomed in front of the MVA! Ronnie and Stan were slow swimming and socializing for the last 10-15 minutes of the session. And, we saw Gracie, Maury and Bailey pair swimming slowly together.

After a quick breakfast, we grabbed all of our gear and retuned to Bailey’s Key. After some programs with guests were complete, we did a second MVA session in the late morning. French, Champ, Lenca, Ronnie, and Ritchie were not in the main lagoon area as they were rotating going out for walks. So, our second MVA session was with the adult females and younger dolphins. It was more quiet and the dolphins were more into their own thing than socializing for the camera. The underwater visibility was a bit silty but still good.

After lunch, Nicole had her encounter with Elli and then her swim with the pod. Stan was Nicole’s buddy … and they played the seaweed game. Nicole was the rubber and Stan the rubbee … and they played and had fun! Nicole says she tried to make sure Stan had fun so he’d stick around … he did! Nicole also saw most of the other dolphins and got a treat when she saw Sandy nursing from Tilly as they swam away.

While Nicole was enjoying her encounter, Kathleen was collaborating with Teri to collect create data with Maury, Gracie, and Calli. And, a big thank you to Meredith for recording the top-side video while Kathleen recorded both in-water surface and underwater views. It was fun to see these three female dolphins having fun being creative!

We had a very busy day! And, the data are almost done being transferred so we will be ready for tomorrow! Tonight is the island fiesta and we are going to enjoy the cookout!

Until tomorrow,

Cheers

Kathleen & Nicole

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Early AM Dolphin Data and early Evening Night Snorkel!
21 September 2020

Early AM Dolphin Data and early Evening Night Snorkel!

Another good session for data collection was had this morning. It was overcast with a light rain, but the underwater visibility was good and facilitated about 30 min of video data. We watch the video collected each day and it offers a different perspective to collecting the data from above water during the sessions. You can see so much more from the underwater video. It’s like a whole other world watching how the dolphins interact and sometimes include Kathleen in their games. Of course, it was also difficult not to play with Dory and her seaweed offerings! Of course, Ronnie tried to get Kathleen to play while she was recording (pictured)!

The late morning saw us having a discussion about the MVA and Nicole learned all about the housing and the technicalities for why the hydrophones are spaced as they are and how the camera sets inside the tube. After the MVA, Kathleen shared with Nicole a bit about DCP and our history here at AKR and RIMS and some additional details about dolphin communication. Lunch followed the discussion and then we had a couple hour break before preparing for the night snorkel. It was Nicole’s first night snorkel! There were three other guests plus Kino (dive master) on our snorkel. And it was awesome! We saw several octopus, a couple of porcupine fish, a lionfish, an eel and large puffer fish! It was enough to have us not ponder how chilly the water felt! (Ok, it’s not really cold but …)

Dinner followed the snorkel and we wrapped dinner with the best ever cheesecake! Our evening wrapped with a viewing of today’s dolphin data video and watching how Tank and Stan would not leave Kathleen’s fins alone!

That about covers today! We’ll do data collection with the MVA and then Nicole has her dolphin encounter and swim tomorrow. We might also be able to collect data on a study with Teri.

Until tomorrow …

Cheers

Kathleen & Nicole

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Maya Key Monday … and dolphin data!
21 September 2020

Maya Key Monday … and dolphin data!

We got what we wished for last night … no rain and decent underwater visibility allowed for a 34-minute underwater data collection session at Bailey’s Key this morning! We saw just about everyone except French and Champ underwater. Tank spent time with his mom, Bailey, as well as with Stan. You can see Bailey and Tank in this photo. The underwater current was stronger than yesterday, which gave Kathleen a strong workout! And the dolphins were social and active. It was a good morning!

Nicole went to Maya Key today with the AKR picnic team. She snorkeled and saw the Christmas tree worms, and trumpet fish. Underwater visibility at Maya Key was really good. Snorkeling was followed by a delicious lunch and then a tour of the replica of the Copan ruins and a meet and greet with Wrinkles, the rescued capuchin monkey, who actually joined the tour for most of it.

The afternoon was spent reviewing video and working on data. It was a good day with lots of sunshine and only a few drizzles of rain. The wind has slackened and we are hoping tomorrow is another day in paradise!

Until tomorrow,

Cheers

Kathleen & Nicole

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Dolphin Data Collection and some added fun!
21 September 2020

Dolphin Data Collection and some added fun!

We woke to the sound of the surf but not the patter of rain drops! The rain had stopped in the night, if only long enough for our data collection session! I was in the water by 7:05 AM after having introduced Nicole to the dolphins from above the water at Bailey’s Key. You can see Stan and two friends waiting for me to enter the water in this blog photo. The underwater visibility was really good, even though the current picked up while I was making observations and had to swim hard to get back to the platform. We reviewed the morning video after breakfast and had a great conversation with two other guests (Sue and Kathryn). Since it was pouring out, they decided to watch the video with us. Mid-day had Nicole and me collecting space-use data and watching the dolphins at Bailey’s to assess their activity levels. The rain had returned, but we were mostly dry sitting under the palapa on the dock. Our dry state did not last long – but for very fun reasons! Elyork was working with Ritchie and Ronnie on some action swim behaviors and asked if Nicole would be a participant! The action swim was not at all expected and I (Nicole) was totally impressed by all the behaviors Ronnie and Ritchie would do. I had a smile ear-to-ear when they swam me across the water – the sensation was so much fun and I won’t ever forget it! The dolphins seemed very happy, too. I feel like I’ve been learning a lot and still have much to learn. I’ve also enjoyed taking the notes and helping as much as I can with the research. Looking forward to learning to analyze the data and reading more journal articles.

The rain continued all day long and we were wet and dry a few times. We hope the rain lessens before tomorrow morning so we have some visibility underwater. Fingers crossed! We both look forward to collecting more video footage tomorrow.

Until tomorrow,

Kathleen & Nicole

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So much can change in less than 24 hours!!
21 September 2020

So much can change in less than 24 hours!!

We, and by we, I mean Nicole and me, are in a room on Anthony’s Key where the waves and wind are pounding and liquid is falling from the sky! We are settled in and hoping the rain stops for tomorrow’s data collection session. Sadly, the student group had to postpone their week field course with DCP to Roatan for this week. This decision was made yesterday afternoon. Nicole was already on Roatan, so I flew down to meet her and we plan to collect data on dolphin behavior and other activities each day!

We have spent much of the afternoon unpacking and chatting about dolphins and dolphin behavior and the facility and walking around Anthony’s Key. Our dinner was delicious and we thought nothing of the stiff breeze around the dining room until Humberto (water taximan) let several of us know about the minor water spout we missed. It was within the reef sort of between the main dock of AKR and Anthony’s Key! He had his rain gear on and so stayed dry! Mother Nature is sure to excite us this week … if she’d give us some calm seas, we’ll be happy!

We hope that we are not rained out tomorrow … cross your fingers!

Cheers

Kathleen & Nicole

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DCP home page
21 September 2020

Roatan or bust! DCP’s 3rd field course for the year!

This year will have me/DCP visiting Roatan four times! And my second trip begins tomorrow morning! I will meet up with the Professors Heather Hill and Melissa Karlin from St. Mary’s University (StMU) and their students either at the Roatan airport or at Anthony’s Key Resort. Any of you who would like to follow along with our week of data collection and in-the-field learning can do so through DCP’s home page blog (see photo)! We promise to share our daily exploits with everyone each night!

For now, I need to finish packing and confirming all the gear is ready to go. Dixie and Baloo – our mini and micro seabeagles – would like to join me as they keep dropping toys into my gear bag! They’ll stay home on this trip and practice their doggie paddle!

“See” you from Roatan!

Cheers

Kathleen

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Dolphinally!!
21 September 2020

Dolphinally!!

We escaped the rain and thunder this morning as we went out to conduct our final surface observation and space use data collection session while Kathleen was recording the dolphins. This morning was quite quiet during most of the session but then it ended with some dolphins doing flips … it felt like they were sending us off with flare! This was good considering Kathleen truncated her data collection session because the underwater visibility was horrible (to quote Kathleen – it sucked!). There was also much glare on the surface that made it difficult to determine if dolphins were in the safe zone area.

We worked well as a team for our final hurrah – we knew how to collect the data accurately and with precision!

Breakfast was followed by watching the video Kathleen collected and we agreed the visibility was yucky. We got to view data collected earlier in the week with the array versus the GoPro – it was cool to see the difference between the footage with respect to the wide angle of the GoPro verses not of the array, and also to hear the auditory differences. The array audio was much different to the GoPro audio with more sounds captured and audible.

Next on our agenda was a passionate discussion on the paper we had to read. It was eye-opening and we learned what to do and what not to do when writing a scientific paper.

Lunch wrapped up nicely with a coconut cake! Then, after lunch, some of us went snorkeling and some soaked up rays near the pool. Those who snorkeled saw a chain moray eel, an eagle ray, and a trunk fish. Those who soaked in rays went swimming and avoided the rain that drenched nearly everyone this afternoon.

Later this afternoon, we returned to Bailey’s Key and got another chance to hang-out with the trainers and the dolphins. It was again amazing and we learned more from our trainers, for example, Dante enjoys teaching the dolphins how to enjoy and engage in the behaviors they do. Another group of us got a chance to touch Stan’s tongue and it felt rather silky. Thank you to all of the RIMS team for sharing the dolphins and their relationships with the dolphins with us!!

We wrapped the day up with a great dinner and some mighty fine key lime pie. And just before writing this blog, we got to compete for some DCP swag while showing how many dolphin IDs we recognized from photos and then we got to “strut our stuff” and show off what we learned throughout the week about dolphins, DCP, sea turtles, coral reefs, and more.

We dolphinately had a really good week!

Cheers

The URI team & Kathleen

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Swimming with and Meeting Dolphins!
21 September 2020

Swimming with and Meeting Dolphins!

We began our day observing Kathleen’s data collection session in the pouring rain, as usual. There was an atypical lull in activity at the surface but a few of the dolphins came over to play. Izzy was even gifted a freshly caught blue tang by one of the dolphins! After breakfast, we watched Kathleen’s footage from the morning and are finally starting to get the hang of IDing the dolphins… just in time to head home.

During our morning break, we reaped the benefits of Fiesta Night. Coral got a lovely free massage. Izzy and Anya “shopped ‘til they dropped” at the gift store with coupons they won in the dance competition. Katrina is still exuberant from her big hermit crab race win and Annie lost her voice cheering everyone on.

Following another delicious meal, we headed over to Bailey’s Key for a dolphin-filled afternoon. We participated in encounters with Elli and Poli. Elli showed off her beautiful front flips, a new behavior she recently perfected and we were honored to be her first audience. The very talkative Poli delivered a nice juicy smooch to Justin. Next, we moved right into a snorkel with the dolphins. The visibility was not ideal due to the recent storms, and many of us experienced frequent dolphin surprises through the silty water! After the swim, we were fortunate enough to observe a training session with the dolphins and their trainers. We broke off into pairs and were each assigned a dolphin. It was interesting to hear about the training aspect of working with these animals in addition to the research aspect. Despite another storm passing through, we all had an absolutely amazing afternoon with all the hands-on dolphin experiences.

We all quickly took advantage of nice, warm showers before heading up to the restaurant. At dinner, we capitalized on garlic bread and collectively consumed 10 baskets worth. It is currently 7:42 pm and we are all ready to “hit the pit.” We are sad that tomorrow is our last day, but just want to say thank you Justin and Kathleen for this opportunity!

We look forward to our last data collection session tomorrow morning!

Cheers

The URI team!

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Dolphins, Snorkeling, and Fiesta Night!
21 September 2020

Dolphins, Snorkeling, and Fiesta Night!

Our morning data collection was rain-free! It was quite pleasant to watch the dolphins as the sun came over the mountain behind us. The dolphins were very social and Sandy and Calli were near the surface rolling and playing often. Everyone was much more centered and focused when collecting the space use observational data, also. The activity levels were more clear and confirming numbers of dolphins in each area was more reliable for us. We even took a group photo while waiting for the water taxi (see the blog front photo)!

We made our way over to breakfast after this data collection session and were very pleased that the rain held off until we were almost done eating. The dining room is open air but covered … so it was lovely to be dry while watching the rain this morning! And, after breakfast we watched the video from this morning and practiced recognizing the various rake marks and other scars on the dolphins to be able to confirm who was who! We are relatively good and recognizing Champ and Ronnie … getting there on others!

Thankfully the rain subsided while we watched the video so that we could spend almost 2 hours back at Bailey’s key collecting more space use data! The encounter was smaller than the other day so we could focus on one dolphin. The same was true for the swim and since the water was calm, we had an easier time of following dolphins near to the dock.

Lunch preceded our discussion of rake marks as evidence of social exchanges among dolphins and our afternoon boat snorkel. The boat ride was about 5-10 min toward the west end of Roatan. The swells were rolling but the sea was mostly calm and the rain squall went more out to sea so the only way we got wet was when we jumped into the water! We saw a sea turtle, a puffer fish and a large sea cucumber! Our snorkeling was a drift snorkel, which meant we could float with the current and the boat would pick us up. The clear water and numerous fishes made for an excellent time!

We had a bit of free time this afternoon to shower and get ready for fiesta night. This is dinner on the key buffet and picnic style with celebratory events. We watched an example of Garifuna dancers and participated in the hermit crab races, limbo, and dancing. Drum roll please!!! URI placed well tonight!! Coral won the free 30-minute massage from the AKR spa! And, Katrina selected hermit crab #33 and won the crab races tonight! Woohoo and congrats to our URI team!

Tomorrow is another data collection session and we have our in-water snorkel meet and greet with the dolphins!!

Cheers

Kathleen & the URI team!

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Diving in the Dark!
21 September 2020

Diving in the Dark!

We just finished dinner, which was preceded by our first ever, collectively night snorkel. Some of us were lucky enough to see a lionfish or an octopus or a sea cucumber! We also saw a puffer fish. We entered the water at dusk and then exited when it was fully dark. It was eerie and surreal at the same time.

The afternoon had a break before our night snorkel that allowed some of us to kayak or paddleboard … or nap. This break was after our informal lecture at the pool about how dolphin calves swimming in echelon position swim faster with fewer fluke strokes to cover longer distances than calves swimming independently (from Noren et al. 2008). It was a lively discussion.

We were much more confident in our recognition of Champ and a few of the other dolphins (e.g., Tilly) from this morning’s video data. It was cool to see Sandy swimming more in infant position, which matched up to the article we were reading about calf swimming position. We watched the video after the sea turtle lecture from Jenn at RIMS.

Our first lecture in the afternoon was about sea turtles. We learned that leatherback sea turtles don’t have a hard shell which allows them to dive to depths of 2,000 feet to eat jellies. We also learned about the Arribada in Ostional, Costa Rica, where locals are allowed to harvest Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs over a two-day period once a year. Green sea turtles are called green because their fat is colored green.

Lunch was midday and we learned that pasta salad was pasta over lettuce not just pasta. It was still tasty.

Our late morning saw us collecting space use data during a dolphin encounter and a dolphin swim at Bailey’s Key. It was really awesome to have Kathleen on the dock with us during the observations so we could really cement our understanding of the activity levels and recognizing dolphins. We have a clearer understanding of documenting activity levels. We got more comfortable with our groups, too. And, we got to see some neat behaviors (e.g., leaps and back tail walks) that we’d not seen before during our observations.

We had a morning break to read the paper for the afternoon discussion session and breakfast was between this break and data collection in the early morning with Kathleen. We got WET! There was a double rainbow and a full rainbow in the sky, which was a lovely way to say so-long to the deluge of rain that drenched all of us as we collected space use data. We did not realize who of the dolphins were trying to play with us until we watched the video and confirmed the specific scars and rake marks to facilitate recognition via natural marks.

So, tomorrow, we hope to break our AM streak and have no rain!

Until tomorrow,

Kathleen and the URI team!

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Dolphins, Maya Key … Risotto!
21 September 2020

Dolphins, Maya Key … Risotto!

Our morning began with a downpour! And yet, we all got to the water taxi stand before Kathleen and Justin! Luckily, the rain subsided as we began our first session of space use data collection. Today was our visit to Maya Key. The group has their comment(s) about today.

Emily – I was able to identify some of the individual dolphins this morning – Callie and Sandy and Bailey!

Annie – I saw some trumpet fish and some cool sea urchins.

Izzy – today when I was snorkeling I saw my favorite fish in the entire world – a puffer fish! I was thrilled and screamed through my snorkel in delight!

Kate – I got to watch a parrot fish eating some coral.

Coral – This reef was the second coolest reef I’ve snorkeled on because I got to follow a reef squid.

Kenna – I played fetch with a dolphin and a leaf this morning and it was marvelous!

Hannah T – Today I was able to see my favorite fish, the trumpet fish, and I also got 17 no-see-um bites on my left leg.

Mia – I got scent-marked by an ocelot, which was a great, I guess, encounter. But my favorite part of the day was getting to watch the dolphins do their thing this morning.

Anya – I had a really fun time collaborating with my group of four with the space use data collection and then playing fetch with the dolphins after we were done with data collection. But, one of my best things today was seeing an eel, which is the second one I’ve seen.

Katrina – As Coral and I were walking around Maya Key exhibits, we noticed a jaguar so we got closer. It turned around and crouched down, and looked at both of us directly and then he pounced at us. It was an interesting behavior observation!

Hannah R – Today, we walked around Maya Key and I got to watch the capuchin monkeys and their behavior was interesting as I’d never seen them before.

Kara – Today, 13 Jan, I did not receive as much of a sunburn as I expected. But, while in this beautiful Roatan sunlight, I was able to feed a capelin to a South American Sea Lion, which was a fantastic experience to see this animal close up in comparison to other sea lions.

Sam – It was sunny today so I was all good!

Justin – I enjoyed watching everyone become increasingly comfortable collecting data on animals that are not on video.

The day wrapped with a discussion of pectoral fin contact and some papers from DCP, then dinner and after finishing this blog, we will watch the video collected this morning.

We hope tomorrow will dawn bright and sunny, and not liquid sunshine.

Cheers

Kathleen & the URI team!

 

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First full day – dolphins, fish, corals and more!
21 September 2020

First full day – dolphins, fish, corals and more!

Our first day was a good one with everyone up and at the taxi dock before 6:30 AM for our first data collection session! The dolphins were playful and social – mostly with each other, which was a good thing! Champ and Stan occasionally sought out Kathleen’s fins to play and one or two dolphins tried to entice one or more of us to play the seaweed game but we resisted.

Breakfast (and lunch and dinner for that matter) were as delicious as Justin promised in our various pre-trip meetings. The rest of the morning was spent in two classrooms – one indoor that is lined with all types of displays presenting the fish and coral and other creatures that call Roatan and her surrounding waters home, and one outdoor. The first outdoor classroom had picnic tables and we learned about the MVA – not as heavy as we all expected (see our group photo with the MVA and Kathleen as today’s blog picture). After lunch we got a chance to try our hand at swimming with the MVA. Our subjects were each other and we were in the pool so underwater visibility was not an issue! The MVA became less bulky to us in the water but most of us were surprised at how difficult it was to see the camera screen for filming.

The afternoon included a snorkel at Bailey’s Key to see the corals and fish adjacent to the dolphin home and then we were treated to a talk on corals from Jennifer and then a fish ID presentation by Peter. We learned LOTS!

The evening wrapped up with watching the video Kathleen recorded this morning and then learning a bit about the activity levels we will be recording for the space use study. We are gungho for tomorrow morning!

Cheers

Kathleen and the URI team!

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The URI students arrive!
21 September 2020

The URI students arrive!

Our ecotour group departed this morning and the URI students arrived mid-afternoon. We hit the ground running with their initial orientation on arrival followed by Jennifer’s facility orientation even before they went to their rooms to check things out and unpack their bags. The students were troupers considering their travel started at ~1:00 AM with a ride to the airport, then two flights, and a shuttle bus ride to get to AKR and RIMS. But everyone was energetic and enthusiastic for the arrival and first meal, dinner.

Tomorrow will start at 6:30 AM with data collection followed a lecture and some snorkeling.

This morning had the eco-tour group assisting me with another data collection session (Thank you Manon for the front photo!). I used the new GoPro7 rather than the 3 for data collection … but we still had the issue with the screen on the back fading to black. It was frustrating to peer at a black screen when I wanted to see what I was recording of dolphin behavior. That said, later in the day, John was able to find the setting in the GoPro7 menu to turn off the screen saver! So, we’ll see how it works tomorrow and see if we are back to gear operating as we want and without a hitch!

Until then,

cheers,

Kathleen and the URI student team

 

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TGIF – A sunny day with awesome data collected!
21 September 2020

TGIF – A sunny day with awesome data collected!

We had a great day with the sun rising brightly and the sky relatively free of clouds. And, really good, clear underwater visibility. And, equipment that worked as expected! Thankfully, Lenca spent more time with Ronnie this morning than investigating my fins! Tank and Dory circle swam around me but they had nothing on Stan who zoomed in tight circles creating many bubbles around me! Bubbles seemed to be the “name-of-the-game” today as Calli also sank vertical in the water column and let out several rounds of larger bubble clouds.

The inter-dolphin social activity was low-key this morning with several parallel swims and rubbing between dolphins. Poli and Champ spent time slow swimming as did Gracie, Maury and Elli.

The late morning was spent transferring footage to the hard drives for back up and reviewing the notes and logging surface observations. John was able to film a few of the dolphin dive training sessions – i.e., the dolphins follow the small boat out over the reef as they would do with a dolphin dive. The sea outside the reef was still a bit turbulent but the swims and training sessions went well.

Our group leaves tomorrow in exchange for the student group with Justin from URI. So, stay tuned for an update tomorrow after the group shift, and with an update about the morning data collection session. In the photo with this entry, you can see our team spread out around the lagoon area collecting data – a dedicated team for sure!

Cheers

Kathleen, Ron, Bill, Jeff, John, Madison, Rachel and Manon

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Strong Current!! Technology Issues!
21 September 2020

Strong Current!! Technology Issues!

I have a dedicated team of participants with me this week – Manon, Rachel, Ron, Bill, Madison, Jeff, and John all joined me at 6:30 for the AM data collection session. The water was ok for clarity but the current was strong! The dolphins were curious and playful and the cameras persnickety!

Yes, technology was a tad bit of an issue. For reasons unknown, the GoPro decided not to record any of the session, though it had the red camera thingee suggesting it was recording. (maybe it took the day off!) And, for the MVA footage – the audio is great but the video is dark. Somehow, I accidentally pushed the button such that the f-stop was locked open. Sigh.

We sorted out the technology issues and spent time in the afternoon collecting the space use data when an encounter and a swim were ongoing. The dolphins spent some time in the area adjacent to the arrival dock but also swam among the swimmers and did some wave/swell surfing. It rained off and on during the day. But, it was a good day.

Tomorrow is our last full day.

Cheers

Kathleen, Manon, Rachel, Ron, Bill, Madison, Jeff, and John

 

P.S. Happy Birthday to Dixie, the mini seabeagle, who turns 8 years old today (9 Jan 2020)!

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Clear Underwater Visibility and Social Dolphins!
21 September 2020

Clear Underwater Visibility and Social Dolphins!

I could not ask for anything more … ok, well, except maybe a tad less current to swim against! I earned my breakfast this morning and more than once felt like the dolphins were chuckling at me as I tried to keep up with them as they seemingly effortlessly glided across the current and the wavelets. Tilly and calf and Maury swam by several times this morning. And, Ronnie even pushed Stan and Lenca a bit away from me! Maybe Ronnie thought they were too close to my fins or paying too much attention to my fins!

Elli and Lenca each played with a small clam shell – Elli draped it over her right pectoral fin and then mouthed it as she swam out of view. Then, Tank and Stan played keep away with a plastic bag – I tried to find it after they were done to remove it from the water but could not find it … maybe it will show up tomorrow.

Manon and Rachel collected more baseline and KD-data collection associated space use data and the three of us and Madison collected more dolphin space use data associated with two encounters and a swim this afternoon. We are assessing how the dolphins use the varied spaces in their main lagoon when without and with people. For me, it was fun to collect data from both the underwater and surface perspectives today!

We did have a bit of rain sporadically during the day but it was warm and sunny also … and tonight was the island fiesta dinner on the key. Rachel won the 30-minute massage! Madison and Jeff’s hermit crabs did not place in the crab race but they had fun cheering each of them on!

Tomorrow begins as usual with a data collection session at 6:30 AM. Let’s hope the visibility remains and we have another great day observing dolphins! The photo with this blog (thank you Manon!) shows Poli and Dory bringing Manon and Rachel a large swath of seaweed to play with and Manon and Rachel showed much restraint in not playing until the observations were done! Well done!

Until tomorrow,

Cheers

Kathleen, Rachel, Manon, Madison, Jeff, Ron, Bill & John

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A sunshine-y day!
21 September 2020

A sunshine-y day!

The sun greeted us today (7 Jan 2020)! It was a welcome site after 1.5 days of wind, rain and more wind and rain, as well as choppy seas and waves. The divers in our group had to be ready by 7:30 for their first boat dive as the boats were still on the west side of Roatan. So, it was Manon and Rachel for surface observations with Madison and Jeff assisting for the first ~half of the session this morning. The current was less than Sunday morning (but still gave me a good workout!) and the underwater visibility was AWESOME! I was able to see everyone (i.e., dolphins) underwater … even at 7+ meters away. There was much socializing and several individuals had new rake marks suggesting some play and social activity over the last 1-2 days, even with the choppy seas and stormy skies.

I was able to get in for two sessions today – one early AM (see above) and one just at noon. For the latter session, the adult males we involved in an action swim so I only had the adult females and juvenile males and females in the main lagoon. The underwater vis was still really good! And, I was able to observe some low-level social activity among the adult females and the typical juvenile play between Dory, Stan, and Tank. It was really nice to have a bright sunny day for data collection … even if the camera had a bit of difficulty with the white balance and brightness.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another good day … hoping the rain holds off and we can collect more space-use data and underwater video data.

Cheers

Kathleen & DCP’s eco-tour group (Ron, Bill, Manon, Rachel, John, Madison & Jeff)

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It was a dark and stormy … day!
21 September 2020

It was a dark and stormy … day!

Our dedicated eco-tourists joined me at 6:30 to try to collect data. The current was wickedly strong and there were rolling waves breaking over the reef. You can see in the photo me getting out after ~3 minutes in the water. There is a dolphin watching me … I got in and then swam hard to get to the side to get out. The storm front meant that the staff moved the floating platforms to one side of the large lagoon area.

It rained all day and was stormy. So, we spent time drawing the sketches for each dolphin and beginning the video logs. We also chatted about dolphins and some various research questions and protocols. It was a good day … even if we were forced to remain inside!

The wind died down a bit today … we are hoping it drops even more before morning.

Until then, the photo below will let you know what the waves over the reef looked like this morning! Thank you to Rachel for both photos!

Cheers

Kathleen and the first DCP 2020 ecotour group!

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Transitioning!
21 September 2020

Transitioning!

The CSU group helped me collect data this morning and we did one more each of baseline and KD space use data collection. It was a breezy morning but the underwater visibility was really good! And, the dolphins were social, but mostly below the water surface.

After data collection, we had breakfast and then the CSU group left for the airport. They were all traveling much today to return home and prepare for school. We had a great week!

Arriving today were Bill, Ron, Madison, Jeff, Rachel, Manon, and John for our research eco-tour. We have a week to collect data with some folks diving, and some focusing on the research. The weather might not cooperate these first few days but we are hoping the rain holds off.

Data collection will begin at 6:30 tomorrow … until then!

Cheers

Kathleen and DCP’s first 2020 eco-tour group!

 

 
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TGIF – Our Last Full Day at AKR!
21 September 2020

TGIF – Our Last Full Day at AKR!

Today was our last full day at Anthony’s Key Resort – and it began like the other days … with data collection at 6:30 AM! We started by collecting space-use data and then made observations while Kathleen recorded the dolphins from underwater.

Alyssa – It was really nice to work with Shane and Kathleen on our projects because I learned lots about developing a research project. Dory is my favorite RIMS dolphin because she’s a goof!

Emma – I think it was nice to talk to Kathleen and Shane about our projects – we did not have to but we could ask questions to refine our projects. I liked taking observations today because the dolphins were super active and it was more fun! Tank is my favorite dolphin because his personality shines through.

Sydney – Today was a really good relaxing day but I’m sorry it is our last full day. I’m gonna miss it. Carmella is my favorite dolphin because she is sweet and you can see her personality is more aloof – she’s not as in your face playful.

Ashley – I’m really sad this is our last day. I really enjoyed the whole week and learned so much about dolphins, and about Kathleen’s research. And, my favorite dolphin is Tank because he’s very playful and it’s been fun watching him try to figure everything out as a youngster.

Hannah – today was really relaxing and it was nice to have time to get used to the fact that we are leaving tomorrow. We had time to soak in the sun and work on our papers. Calli is my favorite dolphin – she’s super sweet and likes to ‘talk,’ even though her jaw is funky.

Sarah – I really liked doing the observations during the swim today because it was something new and it was interesting to see how the dolphins acted during that activity. Calli is my favorite dolphin too. Because she is sweet and has a funky jaw, which I can relate to.

Zach – after this being the 6th day of observing dolphins, I thought I’d be numb to the feeling of amazement but I’m not and I crave more. It shows how amazing this trip was to me. My favorite dolphin is Carmella – even though we don’t see her often, I got to talk to her trainer and learned that how she treats Stan, who is her brooding teenage son.

Emily – I really liked having time to talk to everyone and to Kathleen and Shane and to take in all the amazing things of the week. When we were in the water today, the time feels like it went slow and we are all pretty close and it was nice to take it in and review. Dory is my favorite dolphin because she brought me a leaf and I assume she wanted me to take the leaf and I would have played with her but I was collecting data …

Cole – I have no complaints – any day the sun is shining and we get to hang out with dolphins and to share it with these new friends is a great day. Tank is my favorite dolphin because he is scrappy and likes to pick fights (sort of).

Morgan – This whole week has been great because I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone and bouncing ideas off of everyone. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Shane, Kathleen, and these animals. Carmella is my favorite because she’s a really great mom and very chill and calm.

Brooke – I enjoyed today reflecting on this once in a lifetime experience – not sure I’ll get this close to a group of people again as I did here. My favorite is Tilly’s calf (baby fluke) and I feel connected to her.

Katie – my favorite part of this trip was meeting some really great people with strong passions in life and their willingness to be open and communicate with others. My favorite dolphin is French (Frenchie-boy is what I call him). Because he is the sweetest adult male in the enclosure and goes with the flow, which I can relate to.

Mel – I really liked yesterday and today talking with Shane and Kathleen and challenging my brain with different ways of thinking. It altered the way I look at things a little bit. It was difficult but I enjoyed it. Gracie is my favorite dolphin – she is very sweet and gave me a salty kiss during our encounter.

Caleb – I thought it was kind of cool to see everyone get super close. And, it was neat to see the progress with the research and how we are recording the data. It is almost second nature for space use data collection and activity levels. Tilly and Gracie are equally my favorite dolphins – I like their names and I got to meet Gracie during the encounter, which was fun.

Jeanie – I’m super grateful to have been able to become a water creature with both the dolphins and humans. And it was also really cool to see how ideas can develop really fast even if we are not sure about them to start. My favorite dolphin is Alita because she is very pretty and she does not really like people either.

Today was a good wrap-up day that also had data collection. Tomorrow is our last early AM data collection session and observations with the dolphins. You can see us all at Bailey’s Key in the front photo wearing our Rams Rash Guards and our DCP hoorags!

Cheers

Rams in Roatan & Kathleen

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Creative Minds
21 September 2020

Creative Minds

Our day began as usual – with data collection during Kathleen’s observations of the dolphins with the MVA. From Bailey’s Key, we went directly to a very interesting turtle lecture. We learned about sea turtles – e.g., the green sea turtle has green colored fat. We learned about the Arribada in Costa Rica. We also learned that sea turtles have several critical periods where their survival could be iffy – exiting the nest, getting to the water over the beach, and their first year in the water …

Our late breakfast was delicious! After which we had a small break to ponder our projects – we could select between developing a research project or creating a PSA for some topic we learned about that would have to affect change in Colorado. Since our breakfast was late, lunch was also, but it was still yummy!

Our afternoon was spent in ten-minute individual sessions with Kathleen and Shane to pitch our question or PSA project. It was stressful but we learned a lot and it was helpful to talk aloud our respective ideas. It was nice to learn that our ideas were good though they needed to be developed a bit more.

Our night snorkel was this evening – we saw lots of squirrelfish and 2-3 octopuses. There was a lobster and several brittle stars and crabs. It was weird to enter the water at dusk and come out in pitch black darkness. We were reliant only on the light to show us what was there … 

Dinner followed showers (which have been very welcome and refreshing!). The food is just phenomenal!

Tomorrow is our last full day here at AKR and our taxi boat ride to data collection begins at 6:15 AM!

Cheers

The Rams in Roatan and Kathleen

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Ringing in the New Year with Dolphins!
21 September 2020

Ringing in the New Year with Dolphins!

We did another morning observation session and two space-use data collection sessions: one as baseline and one set associated with Kathleen’s data collection. The dolphins were really active and rambunctious this morning. There was LOTS of surface activity and we saw all the dolphins. New year – New activities!

Another bomb-breakfast followed our morning with the dolphins. Then, we went to the RIMS classroom for a lecture the Marine Mammal Protection Act and animal welfare and permitting for research. It was interesting to learn about the details of the MMPA and how complicated the process of permitting can be. It was also nice to know there are many groups looking out for the well-being of these animals and that it is a federal law.

We departed from our routine and watched the video before lunch – we are getting better at recognizing the individual dolphins, which is a good thing because our encounter and swims were this afternoon.

The next entries represent our individual impressions.

Emily – I thought it was lots of fun to play fetch with the dolphins.

Emma – I think it was really cool to see the dolphins from our own point of view in the water as opposed to from videos and to identify them in person.

Caleb – I liked kissing the dolphin (Gracie!).

Morgan – I have a lot of respect for Kathleen underwater to not freak out when 18 dolphins are in the water with her and there is little visibility, and being able to identify them in a split second.

Alyssa – I know dolphins are smart but playing fetch with them and having the dolphins bring the grass back to the same throwed impressed me.

Mel – I really enjoyed hearing from the trainers and getting their perspective and how they go about their day-to-day job.

Sarah – I thought it was cool to see the dolphins and their personalities up close after having watched them on the videos for several days.

Katie – I thought the dolphin interaction with each specific trainer was neat and that the dolphin knew what the trainer was asking or saying was cool.

Sydney – watching the dolphin trainers was cool as their job is my dream job so watching the interaction and the relationship was very interesting to me.

Cole – I enjoyed having one-on-one time with the trainers and Kathleen and learning about the dolphins and their (the dolphins’) gossipy world was very cool.

Ashley – My encounter was with Tank and since he is a younger dolphin it was interesting watching him work with his trainer since he’s learning behaviors. There was definitely some attitude and personality. It was neat to see Tank in his environment after watching the videos.

Zach – it was good to finally accept my gift of seaweed from Gracie.

Brooke – I got to see the calf during the snorkel, which was amazing. It was really fun watching Tilly’s and Calli’s trainers work with each of them – the dolphins have different personalities but they are similar to their trainers.

Jeanie – I thought it was cool to hear their individual sounds and having no perspective of where the sounds were coming from was interesting.

Hannah – I thought it was cool and funny to see Tank for our encounter and to see the relationship between Dante and Tank was very neat. Their relationship is very strong and looks like it was developed well.

Tonight is a Fiesta Celebration on the key for dinner … followed by a well-deserved evening siesta. Tomorrow begins another data collection with a meet at 6:15 at the taxi dock!!

Cheers,

The Rams in Roatan & Kathleen

 

P.S. at the fiesta night, we had among us the Limbo Queen – Morgan! Well done!

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Happy New Year’s Eve!
21 September 2020

Happy New Year’s Eve!

The morning began bright and sunny and our observations began with a light breeze. About 5-7 minutes after Kathleen entered the water to observe the dolphins, the skies opened and it rained on us. (We learned what it was to be true field researchers … collecting data under all types of weather!) The dolphins seemed to be very slow this morning and they did not immediately greet Kathleen when she entered. And, the dolphins seemed to greet the students on Platform 2 more than any other students this morning. We’re not sure if this observation is correlated but when the rain got heavier, the dolphins seemed to be more socially active at the surface. More data are required to be conclusive.

Breakfast followed data collection and it was welcome! And yummy! After breakfast, we went to the RIMS classroom for a lecture on Physiology from Shane. After a scintillating talk on exercise physiology, we were provided details of our project selection options. 1) a research project that uses a behavior as an indicator of a physiological measure. OR 2) develop a PSA message that presents a topic we have learned here during our course for the folks back home. We are mildly stressed trying to decide which of these two invigorating topics to select! We then learned a bit more about identifying the dolphins here at RIMS – their individual markings and how to recognize them more easily.

Lunch was greeted with enthusiasm after such a mentally taxing morning! Lunch was REALLY, REALLY good. And, after lunch we returned to the classroom for a lecture on coral reefs.

It was fortuitous to have our coral reef lecture before we geared up and hopped on the snorkel boat for our first boat snorkel session. For some of us, this was our first boat snorkel ever! It was a bit clumsy getting into the water – trying to make sure our masks did not fall off and getting oriented in the water. Half the group got separated after entry. Thanks to Shane having a long skinny faded red buoy we were always sure of the direction we should head. Of course, we still got a bit off course and swam almost over the reef. We saw some really cool fish and coral. There was a huge school of blue tang. A billowing lionfish with 15 CSU students congregated above it! A sea robin and several squirrel fish, angel fish, trunk fish and snapper were hovering over the reef and the sand floor. And, best of all, no one got stung by sea lice or jellies today! (Hurray!) You can see us all in the blog photo for today after our snorkel trip with the CSU Study Abroad flag!

We went right into a baseline space use data collection session after snorkeling … it was eye-opening to collect data at the end of the day and not only at the start of a day! It was cool to observe the dolphins with no one around or in the water … even Kathleen.

Our Happy New Year dinner was a visually stunning buffet that was even more yummy than the vision would suggest. And, there was a Happy New year cake! Hard to believe that in just a few hours it will be 2020! Happy New Year to everyone!

Cheers,

Rams in Roatan & Kathleen

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Maya Key to our hearts!
21 September 2020

Maya Key to our hearts!

Dolphins! We started our day bright and early with dolphins … of course, we had the water taxi ride over to Baileys at 6:15 AM. We worked with the space-use data sheets for our first time this morning in association with Kathleen’s data collection session. It was nice to see the comparison of details for when Kathleen was with the dolphins versus when she was not. The sheets helped focus what I wanted or should document for data. Overall, the dolphins seemed less active this morning (at least at the surface of the water) than yesterday. It was cool because we could pay attention to more subtle behaviors.

A delicious breakfast was followed by a discussion of our data sheets and then grabbing our snorkel gear for the picnic and snorkeling at Maya Key. The bus ride provided us a new perspective of the island. We rode back toward the airport to go to Maya Key and it was our first time seeing the island in the day-time! We even marked the ride with a group selfie! (see photo).

Maya Key is beautiful – we snorkeled and saw many rescued and donated animals on the island. We saw the Maya ruin replica on the island and learned a bit about the culture. During the snorkel, several of us met jellyfish via their nematocysts. We also wafted the sting underwater rather than rubbing the stings into our skin! (Thank you to Peter for that wonderful piece of advice during the Fish ID talk!) The American Crocodile snapped at many of us … he seemed to be cranky! Or, maybe he did not appreciate being called little!

We returned to AKR and RIMS by about 14:45 and then had a break until 15:30 when we returned to Bailey’s Key to collect more dolphin space use data. We observed an encounter and recorded how the dolphins used their pool area … it was neat to watch the encounter and see their behaviors, including flips and speed swims, and tail walks! It was nice to compare seeing them with their trainers as opposed to swimming around Kathleen or by themselves.

Dinner … so much delicious food!

We are now sitting here after watching today’s video all about to fall asleep! Tomorrow begins again at 6:15 at the taxi stand.

Until tomorrow …

Cheers

the Rams in Roatan and Kathleen

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Let’s Start Snorkeling … and, oh yes, Dolphins!
21 September 2020

Let’s Start Snorkeling … and, oh yes, Dolphins!

Since this is our first field report, everyone will contribute their most memorable event from today.

Alyssa – for me today, the most memorable part was when one of the dolphins came up and tried to get us to play with it. But because we did not play “correctly” it left to hang out with his/her friends. (Maybe tomorrow I will be able to recognize him/her!)

Zach – One of the dolphins presented us with seaweed … almost tried to drop it onto the dock. But since we did not take it, we hope there’s no hard feelings … before tomorrow’s session.

Sydney – Morgan and me were sitting on the dock and one of the dolphins came up under the dock and startled me with a pectoral fin “clap” while in his/her back.

Sarah – I watched one dolphin do a sort of side/chin slap against the water 4-5 times in a row. Not really sure why but was funny (and cool) to watch.

Katie – I was watching from a distance but saw one of the dolphins try to splash both sides of Platform 2, and the other students on there … intentional? (Yes, those on that dock think it was!)

Ashley – For me, it was watching them interact with Kathleen – to see her flippers go up and their tails go up and down and then they swam underwater. So, I see how it might be difficult not to interact with them but it was fun to watch.

Brooke – I watched what I called a “launch jump” repeatedly and it reminded me of a figurine that I got in Hawaii … it was really cool and really graceful! (The photo is from Brooke … but the dolphins are not launch jumping!)

Cole (aka Nic). I was probably getting overzealous with the GoPro filming … but I got lots of footage and also a wet front port from a forceful exhale near me while filming. Not sure who this dolphin was but to me he/she was “shooter”!

Caleb – I thought it was really cool to go snorkeling this afternoon and see all kinds of fish and then this evening to attend the Fish ID lecture and learn what type of fish we actually saw, and what we might see again when in the water later this week.

Emily – with all the dolphin watching at 6:15 AM and also snorkeling I just felt really lucky to be able to be doing this … here and now.

Hannah – When Jeanie and I were snorkeling w saw sea cucumbers but I thought maybe they were dead caterpillars. They were squishy looking and gross.

Jeanie – OCEAN – the five-factor model for studying personality. And, I spent a long time trying to figure out why the dolphins were swimming sideways – it was because they were trying to look at us on the dock. (fun fact – the only place dolphins have binocular vision is below their throat!)

Morgan – (not in sport mode tonight … but yes during snorkeling!) It was surreal to watch the sunrise on a dock three feet away from a dolphin!

Emma – I thought it was cool to relate what we read and in the snorkeling lessons and then to actually do the snorkeling and realize I was putting into practice what I had learned!

Mel – the whole day was surreal and it is hard to pinpoint one thing. But seeing how large the dolphins were during our observations and then snorkeling and seeing the very small creatures like the feather-duster worms than tuck in when we swim by was just a lot … (I’m still processing!)

Cheers until tomorrow,

Kathleen & the CSU Rams in Roatan

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Touch Down! A glorious arrival day!
21 September 2020

Touch Down! A glorious arrival day!

My flight from Miami was delightful! And the arrival was spectacular! It was one of the first times in a while that I could see Anthony’s Key and Bailey’s Key on approach to Roatan! The sea was flat calm and only a few clouds in the sky! I arrived mid-day and was not pleasantly pleased when I saw the MVA rugged case was open when on the carousel! One of the latches had been broken off and the zip-ties I’d applied had not been replaced after TSA searched the case. Luckily, the MVA was undamaged, or at least seems to be the case. I’ll confirm in the morning tomorrow.

The CSU group were mostly late on arrival since their flight out of Dallas was delayed. I met Katie early as she’d been on a different flight. Everyone else (Ashley, Alyssa, Emma, Hannah, Jeanie, Emily, Sarah, Morgan, Carmel, Brooke, Sidney, Nic, Zach, and Caleb) arrived with Dr. Kanatous (aka Shane) at about 6:45 PM. They looked a tad bit weary but not the worse for the long day! We completed a form and then had a yummy dinner. Everyone smiled with anticipation when we told them that tomorrow begins at 6:10 AM at the boat dock! (Roatan midnight comes early!).

Tomorrow, the CSU team will be joining me to write our blogs. Until then, sweet dreams!

Cheers,

Kathleen

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Dixie and Baloo
21 September 2020

Preparations – checking gear, packing!

Friday was spent packing gear, making sure the cameras (AX100 and GoPros) were packed with the batteries and cards. I had all the data sheets and field binder set and also the DCP 20th Anniversary treats! (Can you believe DCP turns 20 this coming year?!) Of course, as I packed gear, bathing suits, wetsuit, clothing, mask, fins and snorkel and other tidbits, Dixie and Baloo shifted between being nosy and trying to add their toys to the cases with giving me the cold shoulder versus sitting in judgement of me! This photo shows the latter.

I gave them both big hugs (and a biscuit!) and they seemed to be ok with the fact that I’d be heading out to observe dolphins again and teaching students!

My flight is out of Miami tomorrow and the CSU students join me from Colorado via Dallas. The temps on Roatan will be warmer for the students but about the same for me.

More tomorrow after arrival!

Cheers,

Kathleen

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Our last day of data collection this week!
21 September 2020

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 to see the dolphins one last time and to thank the trainers for their time and attention this week. And, before dinner we shared some of our video with the participants and other guests to the resort. It was a good (very good) day!

Jill and Ron B extended their friendly comradery with congratulatory certificates and cards. Jill completed her Advanced Open Water diver certificate this week and shared several dives with Ron and others in our group.

We travel home tomorrow … but this week yielded about 7 hours of video data, several sessions of respiration/surfacing data, and several sessions of spatial use data collection. Thank you to all of our eco-tour participants! It was a very productive week!

Cheers

Kathleen & the 2019 DCP Eco-tour team

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dolphin group 2019
21 September 2020

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 give one dive a week to assist with cleaning growth off the PVC trees from which dangle the growing coral. It’s a neat project to try to regrow some of the depleted sections of the reef.

I also spent some time this afternoon reviewing video and checking out the data sheets to be sure everything has been logged. I have one more underwater data collection session tomorrow morning. (I might try to get a second shorter session late morning, but we shall see!)

Here’s to another great day on and in the water at AKR!

Until tomorrow,

Kathleen & the 2019 DCP Eco-tour team

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Stan 2019
21 September 2020

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 swim this afternoon. They got a chance to meet Bailey up close during their encounter and then to swim with the pod. I’m so proud that they even remembered some of the identification marks on several of the dolphins we’ve been observing all week!

The evening wrapped up with the fiesta night! Sadly, we missed the mac & cheese but loved the other dishes and the delicious brownies. A few of us left early and missed the limbo contest and the Garifuna dancers. Still, a good day was had by all!

Tomorrow is more early data collection …

Until then, cheers!

Kathleen & the 2019 DCP Eco-tour team

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BaileyTankPoli-2019
21 September 2020

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 sequences. They did a very good job of documenting the surface activity level of the different dolphin subgroups. After breakfast, we logged the data sheets from the morning and reviewed the video.

The divers in our group had a full day with 3-4 dives each, including a night dive for Raina and Jill, during which a lobster seems to have put on a show!

It was a good day with only a few scattered squalls passing over us. Tomorrow has our group doing their in-water swim with the dolphins in the afternoon as well as data collection in the morning and several dives planned.

Cheers

Kathleen & the 2019 DCP Eco-tour team

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AM Thunder and Lightning – Start to the rainy season??
21 September 2020

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 dives. They came back with stories of sea horses, sea turtles, and other fun marine critters viewed! Tomorrow night is their night dive, though I’m not sure how many folks will be donning gear in the evening!

The few of us who stayed back collected more surface observational data of dolphin respirations versus surfacings – most were breaths! All in all, it was a great day!

Until tomorrow …

Cheers

Kathleen and the 2019 DCP Eco-tour team

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First dunk with revised MVA4!
21 September 2020

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 woke early with me and I was in the water by 6:40 AM to collect video data! It was a sunny day with decent underwater visibility. It was nice to see the dolphins again. Dory, Stan and Tank were very playful and checked out my fins! Calli has numerous rake marks (pictured) and was very curious about the MVA4 and me. Bailey seems to like her reflection in the MVA4 face plate – good thing we have a new one with no scratches!

Our volunteer observers collected lots of data from the surface and were swift to pick up and remember the different marks on each dolphin’s dorsal fins and flanks. We did some respiration/surfacing comparison data collection on the adult males (French, Ritchie, Ronnie) and Lenca and Champ. They were slow swimming in the afternoon.

Tomorrow is the picnic at Maya Key but first we’ll have another data collection session!

Cheers

Kathleen and the 2019 DCP Eco-tour team

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Ron and Jill 2019
21 September 2020

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.

Our evening wrapped up with a chat about Sunday’s start time for data collection and a congratulations from Jill to Ron B for his long-time support of DCP, and for his mischievous humor!! (see blog photo for Ron’s thank you treat!)

Roatan midnight (i.e., 8 pm!) came early and we all said good night to slumber and prep for the early morning observation session.

Until tomorrow,

Kathleen, John, Ron B, Jill, Don, Bill, Charlie, Ron R, Regina, Raina & Taylor

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KD and MVA4 and Dixie
21 September 2020

Packed and Ready to For Roatan!

The DCP 2019 Eco-tour to Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) and The Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS) begins tomorrow. Hurray! The bags are finally packed and we depart before the sun rises tomorrow … at least for the airport, our flight is a bit later than that!

This trip has me using a modified MVA4. In this blog’s photo, you can see me water testing the system in the pool. You can see that Dixie is not at all interested in the MVA4 or me when we made sure water stayed outside the housing!

The hydrophones are now connected through the housing side wall as “wet pluggable,” which means we can detach them completely from the MVA4 housing for travel to and from the field. John also made some slight modifications to the camera tray so the higher-resolution camera fits better in the housing – and I can actually see what I’m recording. We also have a new front plate and a new top mount for the GoPro.

Of course, we also touched up the green paint and some of the black edging. The system looks spiffy – almost like new, even though the MVA4 is 15 years old!

Stay tuned for more updates from the DCP Eco-tour group during the next week – we have several research projects for which we’re collecting data. I’ll update you as the week commences and continues!

Cheers

Kathleen (& Dixie!)

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Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

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

Email us:

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