A Brand New Research Program

in Honduras, at the Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences

This weekend is spent packing gear and supplies for a 6 week field season to Roatan Island, 27 miles north of Honduras. We will be staying at Anthony's Key Resort studying the 16 bottlenose dolphins at the Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences (RIMS). The dolphins range in age from less than one year to ~25 yrs old. I am thrilled to be embarking on this study because we will be observing these dolphins and gathering behavior and sound recordings following the same protocol for our studies on the Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas and the bottlenose dolphins around Mikura Island, Japan. We will be able to directly compare the behaviors of these captive dolphins with the wild individuals in Bahamas and Japan. Already, from preliminary studies, we have found these is little difference between these environments. Thus, we might be able to learn more about internal physiology and motivations for why dolphins behave the way they do and apply this information to free-ranging dolphins. This is a research program I have been planning for several years.

Robin Paulos, graduate students at the University of Southern Mississippi, will be joining me to make observations and gather data. We might have email only once a week and therefore will post our daily updates in batches.

Our gear is just about packed and we are taking the newly built MVA3! John and I built this array to be entirely mechanical … no electronic controls. We have the ECD and the MVA all in one housing and are using a newer model digital camera. It is much smaller than previous cameras.

We look forward to having you follow along with us as we embark on this new research program.