Bahamas 2000
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 (who took the photo). In addition to these activities, we all got to visit the Mayan temple replica and the numerous animals residing on the key as rescues. These include a jaguar, margay, ocelots, SA sea lions, hawk bill turtles, Toucans, Parrots (several types) and more.

 

Our afternoon included more dolphin observations followed by a talk by Jennifer Keck on coral reefs, dinner and then more dolphin stuff – i.e., watching videos of the RIMS dolphins. It was a full day!

 

Until tomorrow,

 

Kathleen & StMU’s “Rattlers in Roatan”

 

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 and yet had lots and lots of fish – big and small and sea stars and coral, and some type of squishy weird animal that might be a squid (we still need to ID it). We also got to hold the MVA and try it out during this snorkel session – it was lighter than we expected. The best thing we saw was the big sea star and a school of fish – blue tangs, and also an angel fish.

 

Early afternoon took us into the classroom, after a hearty lunch, of course! We had an information session and then went back to Bailey’s Key to meet the dolphins and some of their human trainers. Several of us got kissed by a dolphin! We got to touch them and look at their specific scars and marks and watch some of their behaviors, even feeding a few fish to them. Their skin is smooth and felt like soft rubber. They make different sounds and are very imaginative.

 

Our evening wrapped up with a Fish ID talk with one of the AKR dive masters. We learned quite a lot about the different fish we might see on the reef. This info will be helpful tomorrow when we visit Maya Key and snorkel more and learn more about Roatan’s cultural history!

 

Until tomorrow,

 

Kathleen & StMU’s “Rattlers in Roatan”

 

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 in reading the paper but now the information in the paper is more clear to us.

 

We also had fun watching the agouti run around the hill side!

 

Some of us will join Dr. D in the morning at 6:30 (!) for data collection … and to meet the dolphins!

 

Until tomorrow,

 

Kathleen & StMU’s “Rattlers in Roatan”

 

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 posting updates for the next 8-10 days, as internet access allows! Stay tuned for more details about our travel, dolphin and other animal observations, and our learning process!

Cheers

Kathleen (to be joined in less than 48 hrs with the St. Mary's group)

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!

Our Donors

The Dolphin Communication Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on support from the public to conduct our scientific research and offer education opportunities to people of all ages. Your generosity is the lifeblood of our organization, and we could not operate without the donations we receive. Every scientific article we've published and every student mentorship opportunity we've provided has been made possible by financial support from people just like you. If you'd like to donate to DCP, please visit our donation page.

We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations who have so generously supported DCP:

Corporate Sponsors (Past & Present)

Nate Riley, Author Bahamas Bucket List for Divers, Bimini Edition

Wildlife Acoustics

GreenWorks

ChameleonJohn

 

Individual Donors

Peter Hyde

Kathleen Dudzinski

John Anderson

Sybille and Tom Saunders

Sharon McCormick

Kelly Melillo Sweeting

Bill Sperling

Susan Duval

DCP also thanks all the generous donors who have asked to stay anonymous. Thank you all!

 

Grants

*COMING SOON*

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 15 trainers. We will be able to compare what we find from the observations and sessions with how the animals are rated by the folks who know them best - their human caregivers!

Watch for a research update later in 2016 in an issue of the Dolphin Gazette on this research project.

Thanks for sharing the week with us!

Cheers

Kathleen, Allison & Dawn!

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 dolphins or sea lions. Dawn laughed quite a bit and though tentative at first, TeShalla showed her where and how to touch them on their melon, pectoral fins and fluke.

This has been a very successful field session! We are reviewing our data tomorrow before packing up gear for our return to the US.

Cheers

Kathleen, Allison & Dawn!

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 a Brown Boobie bird fly circles above the gulls focused on the fish buckets!

All in all a great day!!

One more day on Thursday for data collection before we pack everything up in preparation for data processing and analyses.

Cheers

Kathleen, Dawn & Allison!

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 respect to their creativity.

Allison and Dawn also gave a lunchtime presentation about the creativity testing and how we will apply the results with dolphins to studies of toddlers (that's Dawn's area of expertise). The trainers were quite interested and are very supportive of our studies. The dolphins and sea lions are also engaged and get to present new behaviors and play around with complex behaviors.

Our ride back this afternoon was louder than usual as we were on a guest boat. Everyone (us and the guests) were pleased with our visit to Blue Lagoon Island today and our time with the dolphins, sea lions and sunshine!

Because we have two more days of research, we are heading back to the island tomorrow morning early to add to our sample size!

Until tomorrow,

Cheers

Kathleen, Allison & Dawn!

Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

Dolphin Communication Project
P.O. Box 7485
Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985
USA

Email us:

info {at} dcpmail {dot} org

THE DOLPHIN COMMUNICATION PROJECT CHARITABLE SOLICITATION NUMBER CH42894, MEETS ALL REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED BY THE FLORIDA SOLICITATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS ACT.  A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, OR 850-410-3800 WHEN CALLING OUTSIDE THE STATE.  REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.

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