Field Study & Underwater Observations by snorkel
Since 1984, the Oceanic Society has sponsored research on the behavioral ecology of spotted dolphins off the Bahamas banks. In the early 1990s, a dolphin communication component was added to the project, and a vessel impact study was initiated in 1996. In the year 2000, the project was expanded to include a behavioral comparison study between spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). In 2002, we began focusing on the social mechanisms of both species of dolphins, and from 2004-06 we focused on the social behavior of juvenile spotted dolphins. Our research project ended in 2006 when Daisy Kaplan completed her research and the results were published in Marine Mammal Science.
The focus of this 2009 field study, under the leadership of Daisy Kaplan, is to catch a glimpse into how dolphin social affiliations may have changed over time and to update the dolphin identification catalog of 140 individual dolphins. This educational field program will offer an in-depth introduction to dolphin biology and ecology, plus provide an overview of current research and conservation efforts.
The warm waters of the Bahamas are ideal for dolphin observation. We know of no other place where wild dolphins can be observed underwater with such consistency and excellent visibility. Using only snorkel equipment, we will observe the dolphins who seem to enjoy human companionship. Participants must know how to swim and snorkel, but no special skills or experience are required to participate.
We spend time at anchor in several dolphin sites, weather permitting, awaiting the approach of the spotted dolphins, who seem to initiate these human encounters. The clear shallow waters allow for detailed observations of social interactions and feeding behaviors. We will look for old "spotter" friends such as Concordia, Topnotch, Stubby and Macho, dolphins we have observed for the last decade and whose life histories we know first-hand. Trips begin and end in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.
Travel and accommodations are aboard a 65-foot sailboat in 2 double-occupancy and 2 triple-occupancy, air-conditioned cabins and shared bath.
Day 1: Afternoon arrival in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. Overnight on vessel.
Day 2: Early morning departure for dolphin site on the Banks. Begin dolphin study and snorkeling.
Day 3-5: Full days on study site for underwater observations of dolphins and snorkeling.
Day 6: Morning dolphin observation at site. After lunch continued opportunities for dolphin observation and snorkeling enroute back to Freeport. Overnight aboard vessel
Day 7: Disembark vessel at 9:00am.
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Trip Leader: Daisy Kaplan
July 31-August 6
2010 Cost: TBA
Maximum group size: 10
Information & Reservations
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