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

Dory Leaping
20 Jan 2018

Mother Nature Saved the Best for Last!

It was the most beautiful day so far this week because the sun greeted us as we took the taxi boat to Bailey’s Cay! We did a full 30 min observation session despite the very strong current and the cheeky, rambunctious dolphins. The dolphins were very active today; they were very social at the surface also. We did pretty well recognizing the dolphins who swam by our observation posts. After dolphin observations, we had a scrumptious breakfast followed by a data analysis session where we taught Kathleen how to use “BORIS,” a behavioral coding software. It was relatively straightforward and user-friendly for documenting both state and point event samples. Justin and Kathleen took pity on the fact that we’d not…
19 Jan 2018

Stormy Skies Supplied Squid, Snorkeling, and Sea turtles

Due to inclement weather, we were unable to venture over to Bailey’s Cay this morning for observations. We slept in and then enjoyed breakfast. After breakfast, we went to the other side of the island for a snorkel trip. The boat ride to the snorkel was bumpy but it was extremely fun because we were given the opportunity to drive the boat. The snorkel was incredible and the biodiversity was incredible which included lion fish, queen angel, trigger fish file fish and more. (Thank you, Danielle, for today’s blog photo!) The drift snorkel was also a different experience from the snorkel at Maya Cay because it dropped us off at one location and picked us up at another. Two snorkels…
Mac and Cheese
18 Jan 2018

Wind, Rain, Strong Currents, Waves … Mother Nature seems to be cranky!

This morning was a lesson in flexibility. We had an interesting morning – we got onto the taxi boat, headed for Bailey’s Cay with high hopes for another dolphin observation session. The current had other ideas and refused our landing request. It was the first time ever that Kathleen saw the taxi boat not able to smoothly land against the dock at Bailey’s Cay. So, we came back and had a pre-breakfast nap and then enjoyed a warm leisurely breakfast before we spent the morning analyzing video data to confirm dolphin IDs in the footage from yesterday. We have improved significantly and we’ve gained confidence in recognizing and confirming individual dolphins from the video footage. It took an hour to…
17 Jan 2018

A Dolphin-filled Day!

We finally did a full observation session! It was crazy to be able to do a full session. The dolphins were surprisingly quiet – not a lot of surface action in general and very uninterested in us on the docks. The water and the weather were pleasantly calmer this morning compared to the previous days! The 30 min observation session went by really fast! It was cool to go around the docks for this session and see the dolphins in other areas of the enclosure. It was interesting that we saw dolphins that Kathleen did not get on camera because they were in other areas of the enclosure. Breakfast was wonderful as always and the pancakes are highly recommended by…
URI group on beach
16 Jan 2018

Dolphins and Maya Cay!

We had a quick continental breakfast and then headed over to Bailey’s Cay to make dolphin observations. It was not raining, but the currents were still strong and the wind blowing and underwater visibility was not awesome. Kathleen did get in the water and collected about 5 minutes of video – before the current dictated that she exit … on the other side of the enclosure! We got to see quite a few bellies when the dolphins came over to say hi before Kathleen got in the water. Their curiosity was short-lived as they were into their own socializing.After observations, we stayed on Bailey’s Cay having an informal discussion about personalities and contact behavior among dolphins. We also got a…
URI group
15 Jan 2018

Our Sun Dance Worked … until evening!

We met the dolphins this morning – all were very nice and we felt right at home! We could not tell if the squeaks and whistles were from the dolphins or us! Kathleen was not able to collect observations because the current was very strong as was the wind. But, she introduced us to the individual dolphins. We met Tilly, Dory, Bailey and her calf, Champ, Ronnie and Callie and Elli. Polly brought us seaweed to play with. Dory was swimming upside down waving her flippers at us! Unfortunately, we had to leave the dolphins and head up to breakfast, which was equally as exciting! (thanks CSU for the food head’s up!!) We were pleasantly informed about how good the…
14 Jan 2018

Transitions and Wind from a Northern Storm Front

At about 4:30 AM, it sounded like a freight train was speeding by our room(s)! The predicted northern storm front had arrived with a vengeance. Luckily (so far) this is a “dry” front … meaning lots and lots of strong wind but no rain. The last CSU data collection session this morning was cancelled because the winds would have made collecting surface observations very difficult and because the water current would likely have swept Kathleen away (almost)!Still, the CSU group had a delicious, hearty breakfast followed by a chat about gender roles in science. Then, it was last minute packing and prep for departure. During the first week with CSU, we collected about 3.5 hours of underwater video data with…
Go Rams!
13 Jan 2018

Last Day in Paradise … with dolphins!

We had another sunny beautiful morning that was all quiet on the surface during our observation session. It could be said that it was “all quiet on the western front!” More often than not we were able to recognize the dolphins that swam by our observation stations. And, Bailey’s calf was being a dolphin and was swimming between several different other dolphins. Several of the dolphins had new rake marks, so they must have had fun last night! Several of the dolphins were throwing seaweed above the surface, almost like playing catch with each other. After our early morning session, we had a delightful breakfast. And following our morning meal, the last two of us, Chandra and Macy, helped with…
night snorkel
12 Jan 2018

Not a Cloud in the Sky!

We were greeted by the sun this morning on our way to data observations. Our notebooks stayed dry during observations and we had to apply and reapply sunscreen, though we are not complaining. The surface observations were much less – the animals seemed to be less active at the surface and more interactive underwater. Some of the dolphins were a bit playful with seaweed to us. Kathleen was able to get a longer session as the dolphins were social and the underwater visibility was good. The calf kept getting corralled by other dolphins who seemed to want him around. We also started our own research project and confirmed our methods. We had 5 sessions in the morning: 3 with Bill…
Project Chat
11 Jan 2018

Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Sea Jellies, Fish and more …

Many of us woke to find that we slept through an earthquake last night, or did not feel it. After letting our families know we were alive and well, we headed to collect dolphin behavior observations. It was our first set of observations without rain. The dolphins were splashing and noisy at the surface. We had more success also in recognizing individual dolphins. We saw Ronnie, Lenca, Tilly, Carmella, French, Ritchie, Dory and Polly. Calli and the calf were also easy to ID this morning.We did a brief break for breakfast (since food is a motivating factor this week), then went back to Bailey’s Cay to test out and decide on the methods for our project that focuses on respirations…
10 Jan 2018

Dolphin Swim – Where Did They Go?

We shifted the morning schedule having a continental breakfast before collecting data at Bailey’s Cay. This was because we had our dolphin swim this morning! We got to swim with the dolphins after meeting them during a beach encounter. Shane tried to let Kenna know she had 6 dolphins right next to her but she was just swimming forward looking for dolphins! Baby dolphin! Baby dolphin! Bailey’s calf was all around us swimming but mom was none too pleased that he was curious about the split-fin humans! Cailey completely forgot to try to recognize or ID any of the dolphins when seeing them under water!It was true that if they did not want to be seen, they were not. We…
CSU group on snorkel boat to Maya Cay
09 Jan 2018

Don’t Touch the Reef!

We had a very wet data collection session, which yielded data sheets that were soaked through. But, we could recognize several of the individual dolphins. We could chat among ourselves to confirm some of the markings and so learned a few new dolphins by their scars and marks. After breakfast, we spent time reviewing the video from Sunday morning. Caitlyn did not think they made that much noise when underwater but there was a lot of noise from them on the video. And, watching the video of dolphins it seemed to require more mobility than when Julia tried the MVA in the pool yesterday.We visited Maya Cay today. We got to learn about the Mayan culture and toured the replica…
observing dolphins
08 Jan 2018

Dolphins and SUN!

The nighttime deluge of rain was with us through the first part of our morning observations. But, our wishes last night were eventually granted with the sun eventually peaking from behind the clouds. Of course, Initial introductions were overwhelming and crazy with the dolphins! There were a lot of dolphins with names and faces to learn at the same time. We sort of struggled with IDs on our first morning but we were really excited about trying our hand at recognizing each individual dolphin. Many of us were very focused on trying to keep our balance while walking on the dock around the enclosure to our watching spots. The Honduran breakfast was savory, salty, delicious and filling. After waiting 30…
wind and rain view
07 Jan 2018

Travel Challenges followed by Rain, Rain, Rain

We each had varied travel experiences to get to Roatan from the USA. The CSU students with their intrepid professor (Dr. K) arrived without incident, which was good since they began travel at about 02:30 AM. Dee, Heather and Maria each had uneventful trips from Miami and Houston, respectively. I, on the other hand, had a never-before experience: my first flight was delayed because the pilots got locked out of the cockpit. (Not sure where they left their keys!) I received the last standby seat on the next flight to Atlanta and made my connecting flight to Roatan. My checked bag, however, decided to stay a night in Atlanta. I’ve never been so glad to have the MVA as a…
AKR aerial view
05 Jan 2018

Starting the New Year Right! Research and Field Work!

Tomorrow, January 6th, I will travel south to Roatan, specifically to Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) for two weeks of data collection on the dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS). I’ll be joined by two groups of students for a week each. Our first week will also include a few colleagues for the continuation of the dolphin innovate/create study. (More on each of these topics in the next day or two.)Personally, I’m very much looking forward to observing the dolphins and recording their social behavior and vocalizations. Each visit is like catching up with old friends (who also include the trainers and other folks at AKR/RIMS!). The added incentive for my strong desire to travel farther south today,…

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Dolphin Communication Project
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Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985

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