Sunday started early for the DCP team (Kel, Nicole, Tori, Patrick, and Kaiya) as we were met on the beach at 8:15 am by a small, inflatable boat that delivered us to the Coral Reef II, Shedd Aquarium's research and education vessel, that was anchored offshore. Though we arrived jostled and wet, we received a warm welcome from the students that are currently calling the boat home. Everybody gathered around tables inside while Kel presented about DCP's work in Bimini, The Bahamas. The students were able to learn about our methodology, past research, future goals, the local populations of bottlenose and spotteds, and how we use photo ID to catalog the dolphins. The students were very knowledgeable and engaged and Kel was impressed with their high level of curiosity and astute line of questioning. They were particularly interested in the scientific process of using a photo ID catalog as opposed to other methods of identification and classification of individuals, such as tagging. It was awesome to see different students relating and comparing knowledge that they already had of other species to DCP's work with dolphins. After this experience, we are even more excited to talk to another group of students on the Coral Reef II in a few weeks.
The rest of Sunday was spent in the office working on updating the bottlenose ID catalog, creating video logs, and completing other necessary tasks. Because we have a week off from boat trips and data collection, our schedule has added flexibility. Along with office work, the interns are hoping to explore some new snorkel spots, observe Bahamian Independence Day celebrations on July 10th, and take a trip to the shark lab on South Bimini. We are all hoping for a quiet and productive week. Unfortunately, this week also brings Nicole's departure. We are all sad that her current time on Bimini has come to a close, but we know that she will continue to work closely with DCP as she makes progress on her master's thesis. We also know, without a doubt, that she will be back to the island soon.
Until next time,
Tori, Patrick, Kaiya, Nicole & Kel