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

DCP RIMS March 2016 Summary
21 Mar 2016

DCP RIMS March 2016 Summary

Saturday was our travel day to return home. Sunday was a recovery day from a very productive, action-filled week and a long day of return travel! You can see from this photo that Dixie was very glad I was home … and she and I took a good nap on the couch on Sunday! Our trip was productive in that I collected about 3.5 hrs of video on the video camera and another almost 1.5 hrs of concurrent GoPro footage. Our team of 13 St. Mary’s students each were able to collect data for their various class projects; these projects focused on the dolphin behavior, water pH and temperature according to differing depth and distance from shore, and soil sampling.…
We Don’t Want to Go Home!
19 Mar 2016

We Don’t Want to Go Home!

Today - Friday – was our last full day on Roatan, unfortunately! We finished analyzing our soil samples – yeah! We did our last morning observation at 6:30 AM – maybe we can sleep in tomorrow? The dolphins were quite curious about Dr. D but she got a full 30-minute session recorded. After breakfast, we went to the classroom to listen to Jennifer give a talk about turtles. There are 7 different species and only the females come on land, to lay eggs. These turtles cannot retract into their shells. The eggs are “parchment” eggs meaning they are soft and don’t break when dropped into the nest. Their first year is called “the lost year” because no one really knows…
The Day We’ve Been Waiting for!
17 Mar 2016

The Day We’ve Been Waiting for!

Not only did we do research in the morning, but we swam with the dolphins, too! Not only did we have a great breakfast followed by an interesting acoustics lecture but we swam with the dolphins, too! Not only did we do more water sampling and dolphin behavior observations for our individual projects but we swam with the dolphins, too! Not only did we have a spectacular lunch, but we swam with the dolphins, too! Our swim with the dolphins was in the early afternoon. We had encounters with Callie, Elli and Polly who gave us each a kiss and a hug and then the encounter was followed by a 30-minute swim with 12 dolphins. They seemed to come out…

Official 2016 Shirt Fundraiser!

DCP is pleased to offer our supporters the chance to look good in classic white tees and rash guards. Short-sleeve tees are available in adult and youth sizes. Long-sleeve tees and rash guards are available in adult sizes only. Tees are pre-shrunk, 100% combed ringspun cotton with shoulder-to-shoulder taping and double-needle stitched sleeves and bottom hem. Adult sizes are unisex; women may want to size down for a more fitted look. Rash guards have UPF50+ sun protection and moisture wicking. They are crew neck with flatlock seam construction and are perfect for the summer! Have extra money burning a hole in that pocket? Add a donation to your order! This special order period ends on 28 March. All shirts will…
Flipper Fun, Free Time & Fiesta!!
16 Mar 2016

Flipper Fun, Free Time & Fiesta!!

Dolphins and Dolphins – with timing help to make our scan sample observations more efficient. We had a few students from Iowa State join us to watch the dolphins! It was a very eventful morning with dolphins that ignored Kathleen and were very social – lots of leaps! Kathleen had to retrieve a dropped-in-the-water pair of sunglasses and a towel. A wolf discussion followed breakfast – odd since we are studying dolphins. But, Dr. Karlin’s presentation about red wolves was neat and we learned wolves can interbreed with coyotes. And, they form associations, which is why we were discussing them in the context of dolphin associations for comparison. We returned to Bailey’s Key for water sample collection and coral and…
Today was Off the Boat!
15 Mar 2016

Today was Off the Boat!

It was a Long, Long Day!! But it was a very good day! We made some dolphin observations this morning – seeing much socio-sexual play. Breakfast was really good! And it fortified us for the snorkel boat trip, which was the first time for most of us on a boat and to jump off the boat into water! We saw an eagle ray, squirrelfish, parrot fish, lots and lots of starfish, many fan corals and lots of tiny fish. Yesterday’s coral ID talk was very helpful and informative to our snorkel session today! We recognized many of the coral and were informed about the situation coral is facing. After our first boat trip, we collected water samples from around Anthony’s…
Maya Key, Sharks and Research
14 Mar 2016

Maya Key, Sharks and Research

Another early morning session with the dolphins allowed Kathleen to collect underwater video/audio data while the students practiced their hand at conducting scan-sampling behavior documentation of the dolphins. This morning session was productive for the students but somewhat less so for Kathleen because of Ronnie and French’s interest in her fins, which made swimming difficult! After the morning research, we took the AKR bus over to Maya Key – actually the bus then a boat to visit the Key where some of us snorkeled with sharks and rays, some of use collected water samples for pH and temp data, and others of us helped, watched or swam. You can see Lupe and Ina pointing out a fish to Dr. Karlin…
New Experiences – it just gets better!
13 Mar 2016

New Experiences – it just gets better!

Early AM (6:30 AM) adventures brought 7 of us (Sara, Toni, Emily, Paloma, Tori, Brianna & Dr. Hill) along with Kathleen to see the dolphins at Bailey’s Key for the first time. So many dolphins, so close, so curious. One dolphin kept spy-hopping and getting closer and closer to us at the dock and one of the dolphins gave a ventral up pectoral fin wave! The sun angle made it a bit difficult to see all the surface activity, especially when the dolphins were around Kathleen. Late morning was our first snorkel session – a few of us had never been in the ocean before! Kathleen gave us a lesson and kept us calm. The area we snorkeled was shallow…
We’re Here! We survived the Airports!
13 Mar 2016

We’re Here! We survived the Airports!

It was a long bumpy day but rather easy travel to get from Houston to Roatan. To all of our families … we are all in one piece! It is beautiful, green, hot, humid, so many trees! The water is so blue and warm. We saw a purple sea star and a sea fan. Most of us decided not to unpack until after kayaking and examining the mangroves and shoreline of Anthony’s Key. The sunset was really beautiful. We had our first meal and after a long day, it was like we were eating like queens (comiendo como reynas)! After dinner Dr. D overwhelmed us with an introduction to the MVA – it was easier to understand in person than…
RIMS 2016 - field session/course with St. Mary's U.
10 Mar 2016

RIMS 2016 - field session/course with St. Mary's U.

Dixie, the mini Seabeagle, wanted to pack her toys and treats into my bags for my upcoming trip to Roatan. Alas, she'll stay home with John and enjoy her walks and treats here. Though not afraid of the water, Dixie prefers to keep her paws dry. She's observant but studying the dolphins next week would mean getting wet! Students and professors from St. Mary's University in Texas will be joining me and DCP on Roatan from Saturday to Saturday to collect behavior and audio data on the dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS). Our week is not only for data collection but also a field course for the students in animal behavior and conservation biology. We'll be…

The Gazette Turns 20!

In this issue, take a look back over the last 20 years and a glimpse forward at our upcoming programs to RIMS. Kathleen shares details of her recent research trip to Dolphin Encounters and a guest outlines the issue of marine debris, including what each of us can do to help! We hope you enjoy this issue and we thank you for reading and sharing! Click here to access your free copy today!
Innovative Summary!!
05 Feb 2016

Innovative Summary!!

Today was a day for wrapping up cameras, reviewing data sheets and videos to confirm all is copied to a second hard drive and packing for the return trip home. Allison left this morning and Dawn and I depart tomorrow. We all had smiles all morning today! We collected data from Sunday through Thursday this past week and were able to collect a total of 96 sessions with the dolphins and sea lions! These data were recorded on two GoPros and one HD video camera that yielded almost 3 hours of videotape and 85.4 GB of footage! We will be scoring footage for a while. We were also able to collect personality scores of the dolphins and sea lions from…
Last Day of Data Collection!
04 Feb 2016

Last Day of Data Collection!

Thursday was our last day of data collection for our Innovative/Creativity study of the dolphins and sea lions at DE. It was another successful day of data collection! Here, you can see Stormy with O'Kelle during a morning session! We had 12 sessions with the dolphins to bring all our numbers up to four trial sessions for all the females and three to four sessions each for the males. And, we were able to connect with another seven trainers to complete personality scores for the dolphins with whom they work the most. Kathleen gave a lunchtime talk about DCP's research in The Bahamas and Dawn had a meet-greet with Nina and Zoe! This trip was Dawn's first time up-close with…
Sea Lions, too!
03 Feb 2016

Sea Lions, too!

Yes, it's true! We are collecting data on how creative and innovative the sea lions at DE are also! That is, we are not only looking at the dolphins. In this photo, Dawn and Allison are watching as Lorette asks Maggie to display new behaviors of her choosing! Today was another good day for data collection with 12 sessions and several more personality surveys completed! The weather was good with more wind than yesterday and abundant sunshine! Can you tell what I love about the tropics!! We spent a bit of time reviewing the data files and also chatting with several trainers about the creativity levels of the dolphins (male and female) and the sea lions ... we also watched…
Sunshine!! and LOTS of data!!
03 Feb 2016

Sunshine!! and LOTS of data!!

Today was a wonderfully sunny and warm day! A welcome change from yesterday. And, we collected LOTS of data: we had 36 sessions for data collection with the dolphins and sea lions. We now have 3 repeat sessions with almost every animal who knows the cue for innovate/create. It is really exciting to see the individual differences now become apparent! For example, neither Aunty V nor Stormy are "morning dolphins." They are much better creatively in the afternoons! We also coordinated with the trainers for completion of dolphin personality scale surveys. With this information, we will be able to compare how the trainers assess the dolphins and sea lions with how our collected data suggests their individuality will show with…

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