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

The Podfia Swims with The Pod

On Thursday, we woke up, had breakfast and wrote our blog, before watching a video and practicing using an ethogram. We had a lecture on play and then our morning break. Some of us went to the straw market and others got ready for lunch. Casey is our resident hair stylist, specializing in a-mazing braids that are perfect for snorkeling. What would we do without her? (Be very frustrated!). We returned for lunch and boat prep. The boat departed at 14:30 today so that we could snorkel the Bimini Road, aka The Road to Atlantis. We saw some cool, colorful fish and lots of lobsters. Some of us could dive to the bottom, but others felt their heads might explode!…

Podfia Renegades

After our now-standard morning routine of deliciousness (aka breakfast) and blog writing, our Wednesday continued with a lecture about ethograms and different methods for sampling animal behavior. We revisited the Dolphin House and Mr. Saunders had us put up the tiles we brought him – he was really happy and we were honored to have contributed to the Dolphin House. Several of us met “Skippy” (some of us more than once!), a friendly local. We went to the Straw Market and got lots of good souvenirs – it was even fairly priced! Of course, we’ll be back. After this busy morning, we came back for lunch and then had time to get ready because today was the day – we…

Over the Gulfstream

When we woke on Tuesday, it was sad and dreary – but even before this, Dr. M, Dom & Ben braved the rainy skies and walked four miles! After breakfast and our blog, we discussed the assigned articles on photo-identification. After class, some of us went to the beach for a bit and played Cards Against Humanity. We had lunch (yum, yum, amazing Navy Bean soup – even the pickiest of us enjoyed it!) and then tried our hand at photo-ID, meeting Lil’ Jess (#35) and Trudy (#57). Though our dolphin trip wasn’t going to happen (wind!), we waited with bated breath to find out if our harbor tour would set sail (with its motors). Whilst waiting, we created a…

Big Tetnus

Monday morning began with writing our blog, following by lecture. We got an introduction to DCP and the dolphins we will see off Bimini before learning about the DCP cameras and what we should aim to do in order to get good photo-ID pictures. After class, we headed to the beach to practice snorkeling. The waves were really strong and Captain Al mentioned that this was the first time in a long time that the waves were actually rolling and breaking on shore. So, we didn’t get much snorkel practice in, but soon we were having fun in the waves. We were also looking for shells and found conch shells and lots of hermit crabs. After lunch, we broke into…

The Podfia Takes Bimini!

I am very, very excited for this and the coming field reports! Last Wednesday, Nicole Danaher-Garcia (intern-Masters Student-research assistant-extraordinaire) arrived on-island and has been busy updating our photo-ID catalog and prepping for our current field course. Dr. Radhika Makecha (check her out in the collaborator section under the Research tab) arrived on Sunday with 12 students from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). For the next 12 days, the EKU students will write our Bimini field blogs – we hope you enjoy reading! ~Kel (PS: If you enjoy reading about our field courses, please consider donating to our Double Down on DCP fundraiser – running until 30 June. The DCP board will match your donation!) __________________________________________ Some of us drove from Kentucky…
A New Field Thread from DCP - Peru!
16 Jun 2016

A New Field Thread from DCP - Peru!

Marie Trone, Ph.D., is a DCP collaborator (see her DCP page here). She left on June 8 for Peru. Because internet access is sketchy in the jungle, Marie will send Kathleen updates about once every week or two for posting to DCP’s field blog. So, stay tuned for updates from the Amazon on Marie’s studies of the boto (aka Amazon river dolphin)! Cheers - Kathleen************June 11, 2016I made it! I am in the jungle now. I flew all night on Wednesday (8 June), and arrived in Iquitos on Thursday morning, totally, 125% exhausted. Then on Friday caught a boat down to Explorama Lodge ( where I am based for the summer. Internet is not reliable. I could not get on…

Whoa Dolphins!

Thursday was the last boat trip for the SMC group and everyone was hopeful it would be a great one, in part because high winds kept all of us on land on Tuesday and Wednesday. The wind was to our backs at the start of the trip, which was a good thing because the seas were still rocky! Thankfully, we did not have to go far to see the dolphins. With a radio tip of a large group traveling, we stayed close to shore. But, boat traffic got a bit too heavy, so we opted to go our own way and look for other dolphins. I’m always grateful that the Captain Al agrees with limiting the number of boats interacting…

Double Down on DCP

If you donate $8 to DCP this month, the Dolphin Communication Project's board will match* it, turning your $8 into $16. Donate $22 and it becomes $44. Donate $107 and you really give $214. DCP relies on the financial support of our supporters and now, you can have an even greater impact that you thought possible. Why does DCP need your money? DCP has just begun our annual research season studying wild Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins off Bimini, The Bahamas. Each year we record these dolphins - via photographs, video and acoustic recordings - keeping track of individuals, locations and behaviors. We host and collaborate with university courses and provide information to tourists seeking out these incredible creatures. We…

Ever wonder about crater feeding?

On Wednesday morning, I visited the students and gave a talk on photo-ID; why it is important and how it is done. They are a great group and I hope they enjoyed my visit as much as I did. Thursday brought another opportunity for me to join the visiting researcher & student group. So far, 2016 has been a high-return year! Only 27 minutes into the dolphin trip we came upon feeding bottlenose dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins off Bimini tend to be less interactive with boats and humans than the spotteds – whether this is shyness, fear or indifference, I don’t know. But, when the bottlenose are “crater feeding,” or searching for and digging out prey from the sand, they…

New students + Friendly dolphins

On Monday, the second wave of students from St. Mary’s College of Maryland arrived on Bimini. After an evening of settling in, I met with the students on Tuesday afternoon to show them the still cameras and slates, and give them tips on taking underwater photographs for the purpose of photo-identification. Shortly after 1500, we were leaving the Sea Crest and headed in search of dolphins! This group got spoiled and didn’t have to search long at all! Soon, we could see dolphins in the distance and as we got closer, one bottlenose dolphin checked out the boat and dove down to what appeared to be 3 more dolphins on the sea floor. These dolphins headed in the opposite direction…

Gazette 20.2 is here!

The latest Dolphin Gazette is here! We hope you'll enjoy everything in this issue - from Kathleen's update from her spring break university course at RIMS, to a fun dolphin coloring page, to a call for donations - which will be matched by members of our board if received before 30 June! Click here to download your copy. Thank you for reading and for sharing!

Ladies’ Night?

With the wind in our faces, and rocking the boat, we were hopeful that Tuesday’s boat trip would bring some cooperative dolphins. The students were fresh off some great juvenile spotted and crater feeding bottlenose observations (Sunday) and Caribbean reef shark and southern stingray interactions (Monday). I was ever hopeful that my presence wouldn’t break their luck… Sure enough, at 16:28, Dr. E saw several dolphins surfing the swells right toward us! It was a very cool sight to see. We counted at least 19 dolphins, but with the rough conditions, I could only recognize Stefran (#82) from the boat. Surfing dolphins usually don’t break from their activity to swim with us, but this group did let us get a…

Spotted Dolphins of the Bahamas

Check out this video from our friends at Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization and Loggerhead Productions. It includes some great information about the spotted dolphins in The Bahamas – and DCP’s own Kel Sweeting makes a cameo with the Bimini dolphins! Spotted Dolphins of the Bahamas from Conch Salad TV on Vimeo.

Time is already flying!

Saturday snuck right up on me and brought another dolphin trip with Bimini Adventures’ student group. On Friday, the students and researchers were able to observe a feisty juvenile group, including Inka (#93). They got some great video and photographs, which will contribute to DCP’s archive, in addition to their own work. Saturday’s trip began smoothly and though the wait was longer than the past few days, it really wasn’t long at all before we saw some big splashing in the distance. It turned out to be closely clustered group of dolphins engaged in mating or socio-sexual behavior. Our underwater observation was brief, but I was able to confirm that Prince William (#64), Speedy (#78) and Milo (#96) were in…

Photo-ID Fun….and rain

Wednesday morning began with a photo-ID lecture to the students. I always like this topic – discussing how we recognize individual dolphins and all the cool things you can learn just by knowing who is who. The students asked great questions and did a fantastic job practicing matching photos to the DCP catalog. Unfortunately, thunderstorms rolled in after lunch, canceling our boat trip – and taking the phone lines and internet down! Luckily, the group has many more days here, so spirits remained high! Until later, Kel PS: Sorry for the delayed posting – spotty island internet!

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