No underwater observations today.
Dolphins are very tactile, seemingly almost always in physical contact with schoolmates. One of the topics we are studying is how dolphins use their pectoral fins (flippers) to exchange touches and rubs. Because the RIMS dolphins are in human care, they potentially receive more contact. Their trainers definitely touch them. We are interested in knowing if the observed dolphin/dolphin contact was less here, could trainer/dolphin contact be a factor?
Not so much. These dolphins are just as touchy as the ones in the Bahamas and Japan, at least from preliminary review of our data.
To study trainer/dolphin contact interactions, we watched each dolphin/trainer pair for 5 min samples and recorded all contact. The dolphins who were less tactile with other dolphins were also less touchy with trainers.
Our next team of research volunteers begins to arrive tomorrow with the research-week program starting on Saturday evening.
Kathleen, Robin & John