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

Back aboard the Coral Reef II

This is a (very!) belated post from late July. Apologies for the delay! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It’s been a land-based week or so here in Bimini. Nicole wrapped up her first 2016 session and headed back up north, while I remain in Bimini to hold down the figurative research fort. In between day-to-day DCP responsibilities, I’m working to incorporate Nicole’s photo-ID efforts into our Bimini catalog so we have a more up-to-date catalog to reference going forward. And today (Thursday) I was able to join the second session of Shedd Aquarium’s High School Marine Biology program aboard the Coral Reef II. This group has been handling weather challenges like champs and I was thrilled to make it to and from the vessel…
Peru Update July 29, 2016
02 Aug 2016

Peru Update July 29, 2016

I spent the week of July 16-23 on board the riverboat, La Estrella. This ship is operated by International Expeditions, an eco-tour travel agency. During this week, I had the opportunity to spend a morning recording dolphins in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. The conditions in the Ucayali River are optimal for recording dolphins. To record the dolphins, we navigate a small motor boat about 200 meters past the animals, up-stream. We turn the motor off and drift with the current past the dolphins while recording. The Ucayali River is generally 7 meters or less in depth, and not more than 50 meters wide. The current is slow and the dolphins seem to favor this area. After doing one to two passes…

A Magical Adventure

Sunday morning was less eventful for DCP than Saturday had been. Kel and Nicole spent the day in the office working on photo ID and other data processing. At 1500, Nicole set off on the boat with Captain Al and his two guests. This time, the pair wanted to stop at "Bimini Road", or the road to Atlantis, for some snorkeling. They loved the spot as much as they did "Three Sisters" on Saturday. After enjoying the sights for a bit, they climbed back on the boat. Given the amazing and unbeatable dolphin encounter we had the day before, Captain Al decided that we should head towards another, less-visited snorkeling spot instead of spending the entire day searching for dolphins.…
Marie’s early July update from along the Amazon!
11 Jul 2016

Marie’s early July update from along the Amazon!

Marie’s letter below is in the first person. We include some of her photos, too. Happy Reading! ********** I did a presentation at the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (http://www.iiap.org.pe/). The lead photo shows me after my presentation with team members. I submitted an international grant with groups from Peru, Chile, and France to increase the exchange of technology. Our team has offered to ground truth our acoustic data with drone robotics! Also, we may employ some infra-red cameras to explore cavitation, record individual fish in tanks in an attempt to identify fish species in the river, and automatic data uploads to a server! Rain is HUGE hazard to electronic recording equipment here (and indeed anywhere!). But, the…

Dolphins, dolphins and MORE dolphins!

Saturday was an extremely exciting and event-filled day for DCP on Bimini. It started bright and early, and already hot and humid, when we headed over to the Coral Reef II to join the Shedd Aquarium’s High School Marine Biology students. Onboard, Kel gave the students an informal lecture to teach them a bit about DCP itself, provide some information about the dolphin species they might encounter around Bimini, and brief them on how we perform photo ID. The class was an interactive audience, always engaged and ready to ask thoughtful questions. We are grateful to the students, the Coral Reef II crew and Shedd Aquarium for allowing us this chance to share our knowledge with them. Hope you guys…

Three Sisters and Tons of Spotteds

Thursday was the Sea Crest group's last day on the boat and it began with a 1430 departure. Nicole joined them on their dolphin search which was preceded by a snorkeling stop at the "Three Sisters". After enjoying the coral and beautiful fish around the big sister rock for a bit, as well as an up-close encounter with a tiny (but feisty) remora, we headed out on our regular route. About 20 minutes later we passed another local dolphin boat that had found a group of spotted dolphins. We waved to the boat captain as we continued on our way to look for other dolphins. About an hour later we came across a group of six juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphins!…

A Fin-load of Dolphins

After spending the morning working on photo ID, Nicole set off with the tourist group at 1500 to search for dolphins. This time, Captain Audley was joining the group! Everyone was excited to have him back on Bimini. And for his first trip back, he must have had a premonition about where to look for dolphins because he found them less than an hour after setting out! At first we saw a group of four sub-adult and adult Atlantic spotted dolphins, possibly including Buster (#04). We observed this group from the boat for about 20 minutes when they suddenly seemed to slow down. Captain Al decided it might be a good time to attempt an underwater encounter so we geared…

The Wonders of Bimini Road

Tuesday morning found us doing office work as usual. Around 12:30, however, they headed over to the Sea Crest Hotel where this week's dolphin group is staying. Everyone was interested in learning more about the dolphins around Bimini so we joined them for a lunchtime chat. The group asked many good questions about Atlantic spotted dolphins in general, the individual dolphins of Bimini, the research DCP conducts here and much more! After the noon-time chat, everyone set off to prepare for the boat which would be departing a bit early at 1430. Kel stayed on land while Nicole joined the group on their search for dolphins. This trip began with a stop at the "Bimini Road" snorkeling spot which some…

A Wonderful Way to Celebrate the Fourth!

Fourth of July Monday started out with data processing and other office work. Later in the morning, Nicole took a brief break from her work to visit some adorable 3 week old kittens with Kaila. They were precious! By 1500, everyone was ready to set off on our quest for dolphins. Unfortunately, due to some not-safety-related boat delays, we did not leave until closer to 1600. Everyone remained in good spirits, however, and we were rewarded by finding a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins less than an hour after setting out! This group included Stefran (#82), Swoosh (#36), Leslie (#80) and likely Niecey (#48--to be confirmed in DCP's still photos). In addition to these four older dolphins there were four…

Worth the Rain and the Wait

Saturday was a (much-deserved) rest day for the DCP researchers. Then on Sunday the next Sea Crest dolphin tour group arrived on Bimini. This group is composed of 14 guests from different parts of the US. After a morning of catch-up on office stuff, we prepared to head out on the boat with the guests at 1500. As we pulled out of the dock there were ominous storm clouds to the northwest that let out a deep rumble of thunder every once in a while. Despite the threat of a storm, Captain Al knew that these clouds were moving away from Bimini, and the radar did not indicate any more storms, so we decided to head out in search of…

Giving back and saying goodbye

After breakfast on Thursday we headed to Radio Beach for a beach cleanup. Everyone grabbed a buddy and collected garbage and debris--as a group we collected 9 bags of trash! It is nice that the students are able to give back to Bimini and the environment that gave them so many wonderful experiences over the past 12 days. Then everyone enjoyed the beach one last time with a luxurious cool-off swim! Once they had dried off, the students headed back to the common room to discuss some final details about the course. After that there was a bit of free time before lunch during which some people popped down to the store to buy some adult beverages for dinner and…

It’s DolphFUN and games until someone loses a fluke

On Wednesday, some of us woke early for a morning walk. The big winner in this exercise was Ben, who found $120 on the beach! With no one around to claim it, he savored his good luck. Our class session was a discussion about ecotourism, bringing our conversation full circle from the first day. Kel shared (one of her many) soap boxes and we experienced our first Bimini power outage. Thankfully, it was short. We discussed our opinions about how to be “eco-tourists” and be as least harmful as possible. Some more of us met Tommy Saunders and others went to the beach and still others stayed in the cool to spare our skin from more sun. We dined on…

Shark Day: Hoo-Ha-Ha!

On Tuesday, we began with our yummy breakfast, the blog and some photo-ID. Morning break was early because lunch was early because today was Shark Day! But, there was a surprise in store, one that was about to be very appropriately foreshadowed… The boat departed at 1300 and as we were departing the harbor, some of us saw a spotted eagle ray leap out of the water! Since we were not searching for dolphins, we were allowed to lay down on the boat: it was amazing! Especially since some of us were sure to keep watch, in case we did see dolphins. We arrived at Honeymoon Harbor, our surprise location. Honeymoon Harbor is a small area on Gun Cay where…

Holy Mackerel!

On Monday morning, it was a large thunderclap that woke us! Soon our bellies were full, our blog was written and we were discussing mixed species interactions. We all agreed that people cannot put our personal/human expectations and social constructs onto dolphins, particularly when it comes to socio-sexual interactions and mating techniques. (For more on this, check out Dr. JustinGregg’s blog). Our boat trip departed at 1430 so that we could snorkel the biggest sister of the “3 Sister Rocks.” There was crazy cool wildlife here, with fish that let us get within centimeters of them! We saw a hound fish, a nurse shark, barracuda and maybe a soldier fish. We took photographs around the arch, and practiced diving (now,…

The Day of the Dolphins

Sunday began bright and early. Breakfast was only 30 minutes earlier than usual, but it felt like a lifetime earlier. We headed to South Bimini – and from the beginning our journey, we were being swarmed by no-see-ums, referred to by us as “The Devil’s Creatures.” No-see-ums are actually sandflies and while there are some on North Bimini, South Bimini is notorious for them. We braved these vicious creatures for good reason: a tour of the South Bimini Biological Field Station, aka The SharkLab. Here, we got to wade into the water to see juvenile lemon and nurse sharks (and got to see little fish swimming about!) and feel the nurse shark. The lemon shark wasn’t having any of it!…

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Dolphin Communication Project
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