[MARMAM] Animal Behavior Field Course-Social Behavior and Communication of Wild Dolphins in the Bahamas

Daisy K daisysat at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 2 15:01:03 PST 2010

To whom it may concern,I would like to post the following message on MARMAM.
Sincerely,J. Daisy Kaplan
Animal Behavior Field
Course-Social Behavior and Communication of Wild Dolphins in the Bahamas

This field course provides
students with an exciting opportunity to gain hands-on field experience
studying animal behavior while participating in a research project studying the
social behavior of wild dolphins.  

The Bahamian dolphin
populations are very acclimated to human beings, allowing for the unique
opportunity to observe these animals up-close, in their natural
environment.  Students who join our team during our weekly research trips
will assist researchers in recording the dolphins’ underwater and surface vocal
and behavioral interactions.  Observations are made underwater while
snorkeling, and on the water’s surface from a skiff.  Students must know
how to swim and snorkel, but no other special skills or experience is required
to participate. 

Costs and Dates: The cost of this field course is $2,290 per person.  The course runs from August 21st-27th.  Cost includes 6 nights accommodation
and all meals and snacks. Travel and accommodations are aboard a 65-foot
sailboat in double and triple occupancy, air-conditioned cabins with shared
baths. Trips begin and end in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.  The boat is anchored or traveling most
of the week at the research sites, so we will almost always be in dolphin
territory.  Airfare is not included, nor is ground transportation or
gratuity (recommended 10-15% of the cruise rate, or ~$230).  Other dates may open up for other trips
in August.


Details of the trip can be found
at http://www.oceanicsociety.org/nhexp_BahamasProjectDolphin


Course Outline for Both
Credit and Non-Credit Participants:

The coursework will be comprised
of the following:

Pre-trip workshop and
orientation at Hunter College (Optional for students not receiving credit for
this course.  Workshop will be
taught by Hunter College Professor Dr. Diana Reiss)

Involvement in daily research

Daily lectures during the

Reading materials—to be read
before the trip commences.

A writing assignment due by
the end of the semester.  This
assignment will require the students choose a behavior they find interesting,
write a literature review on this behavior, and pose potential research
questions for the further study of this behavior.  This assignment would also include describing basic
methodology that could be used to investigate these questions. (Not required
for students not taking this course for credit.)


Daily Research Activities:  Students will
take part in underwater (if desired) and onboard ship observations. Students
that feel comfortable with photo ID may also assist in taking underwater photo
ID pictures.  In addition, students
will have several tasks while above-water, including recording environmental
data, recording details of sightings, matching photos of dolphins seen to the
photo ID catalogue in order to identify the dolphins, and being 'on watch' to
look for approaching dolphin groups. 


Course Lecture Series:

Introductory Lecture (lecture
at Hunter College prior to trip commencement): 

I. Marine Mammal Behavior and

II. Conducting Field
Research: Methods and Techniques  

III. Orientation to field
project: overview of the research, and student roles and responsibilities

Day 1: Orientation: (at field
I. Review of research roles
& student responsibilities, general safety, how to conduct one’s self while
in the water with dolphins.

II. General life history of
spotted and bottlenose dolphins. 

III.  Photo Identification of Dolphins – How
to tell who’s who.

Day 2: (at field site)

I. Coral Reef fishes

II. Review of required
reading and field research methods

Day 3: (at field site)

I. Marine mammal anatomy
& physiology, evolution of marine mammals 

II. Marine mammal sensory
perception (hearing, echolocation, vision)

Day 4:  (at field site) 

I. Animal Intelligence &

II. Current topics in marine
mammal conservation

Day 5: Comparative Studies:
life histories of killer whales, sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, and
humpback whales

Day 6:

Trip Wrap-up

Assigned Reading:

life history of free-ranging Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis):  Age classes, color phases, and female reproduction.  D. L. Herzing.  1997.  Marine Mammal Science 13(4):576-595

The bottlenose
dolphin:  Social relationships in a
fission-fusion society. R. C. Connor, R.
S. Wells, J. Mann, and A. J. Read. 
2000.  In:  Mann, J., R. C. Connor, P. L. Tyack,
and H. Whitehead, eds.  Cetacean
societies:  Field studies of
dolphins and whales.  The
University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Unraveling the dynamics of
social life:  Long-term studies and
observational methods.  J. Mann.  2000.  In: J.
Mann, R. C. Connor, P. L. Tyack, and H. Whitehead, eds.  Cetacean societies: Field Studies of
dolphins And whales.  U. of Chicago
Press, Chicago & London.

Mirror self-recognition in
the bottlenose dolphin: A case of cognitive convergence. D. Reiss and L. Marino. 2001. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98(10):5937-5942

Cetaceans have complex
brains for complex cognition. L. Marino,
R. C. Connor, R. E. Fordyce, L. M. Herman, P. R. Hof, L. Lefebvre, D. Lusseau,
B. McCowan, E. A. Nimchinsky, A. A. Pack, L. Rendell, J. S. Reidenberg, D.
Reiss, M. D. Uhen, E. Van der Gucht, and H. Whitehead.  2007.  PLoS Biology 5(5):966-972



Field course to be taught by
Hunter College Professor Dr. Diana Reiss and CUNY Graduate Center PhD student J.
Daisy Kaplan


Credit and Non-Credit
Options:  You make take this course as a non-credit or a credit
course.  For those students who are
part of the CUNY (City University of New York) System and wish to sign up for
credit, you can sign up for this course as an independent study.  Additional fees to Hunter College
apply.  Please contact Daisy Kaplan
at daisykaplan at hotmail.com for further details on receiving credit.  For-credit requirements include a
written assignment and a 3-hour workshop at Hunter College offered in early
August 2010, prior to the trip commencement (date TBA).  This workshop
will be team taught by Dr. Diana Reiss, Professor in the Department of
Psychology at Hunter College and the Biopsychology & Behavioral
Neuroscience Program, CUNY Graduate Center, and Daisy Kaplan, PhD student in
the Biopsychology & Behavioral Neuroscience Program, CUNY Graduate
Center.  If you are not part of the
CUNY system, you may be able to receive credit through your own university for
an independent study/ research project. 
You may also participate in this course for non-credit, in which case
there will be no workshop or writing requirement.  If you wish to receive credit through Hunter College and are
not a CUNY student, options may be available – please contact me for more

To reserve your spot, a
non-refundable deposit of $250 is due by April 1st.  Trip cost must be
paid in full by May 1st.  

For further questions or to
reserve a space, please contact Daisy Kaplan at daisykaplan at hotmail.com

Hotmail: Free, trusted and rich email service.
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