[MARMAM] Field Course in Ethological Studies - Marine & Terrestrial

Kel Melillo Sweeting kelly at dcpmail.org
Tue Jan 3 08:14:33 PST 2012

Happy New Year MARMAM readers.

Registration for the following class is now open to non-enrolled students. So, if you have been looking for a field course for general enrichment, are getting ready to return to school or are a recent graduate, please consider signing up today!



Looking for an exciting, hands-on summer course? The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP), in conjunction with Georgetown College, is pleased to offer a FIELD COURSE IN ETHOLOGICAL STUDIES - MARINE & TERRESTRIAL. The field portions of this course will take place in Bimini, Bahamas and Nassau, Bahamas. 


Full Course Dates: 20 May - 11 June, 2012

Field Dates: 20 - 31 May 2012


Course description and objectives:

Students will be introduced to the study of animal behavior using a combination of lectures, readings, discussion, and research with both a wild dolphin group and a captive dolphin population. Lectures will focus on understanding animal behavior from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Readings and discussion will focus on current research and methodology. Fieldwork will provide students an introduction to the skills necessary to conduct animal behavior research and to demonstrate these skills by participating in independent research with senior scientists at the field location.


Class Format:

Non-field portions of this course will be completed remotely, via the free Internet communication program, Skype. Exact dates and times are to be determined. The field portion will take place at two sites and attendance at all lectures, activities, and training sessions is mandatory. The format of the classroom meetings will be discussion-oriented. Questions and class participation are strongly encouraged. Training sessions (at Dolphin Encounters) and research hours are also mandatory, for the safety of the student and the animals. 

Cost: $2,450 per person (USD)



Air transportation between Fort Lauderdale, FL and field sites

10 nights' accommodation (double or higher occupancy)

3 meals a day (one group meal out in Nassau not included; optional meal out in Bimini not included)

4 half-day boat trips in search of dolphins (weather dependent)

Gratuity for boat, dock and hotel staff in Bimini

Transportation to and entry into Dolphin Encounters

Airport/Hotel transportation in Bimini and Nassau

Course instruction by Drs. Kathleen Dudzinski (DCP) and Rebecca Singer (Georgetown College)

Certificate of completion (upon request)

Not included: Airfare to/from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA


You must be at least 18 years old and fluent in English to participate. US citizens are required to have a valid passport for entry into The Bahamas (a birth certificate is not sufficient). Students of other citizenship should confirm entry requirements. Students currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program are given first-priority. Registration for non-matriculated students will open, space available, 1 January 2012.

No previous experience with marine mammals or marine biology is required, however, all participants should be comfortable on a boat, snorkeling and working as a team.

Course may be used for general enrichment or course credit; the student is solely responsible for arranging credit with their home institution or Georgetown College. Fees associated with course credit are not included in the course fee.


This is your chance for a real life research experience with wild and captive dolphins in the clear, warm waters of the Bahamas!


Come join us! 


For more information on this course, visit http://tinyurl.com/DCPAnimalBehavior.

If you have questions on this course, please contact DCP at info at dcpmail.org.

For more information on DCP, including a list of publications, please visit www.dolphincommunicationproject.org. 

A non-refundable deposit of 20% ($490) is due at the time of registration, with full payment due by 28 February 2011. Deposits and payments are currently being accepted at http://tinyurl.com/DCPAnimalBehavior. If you prefer to pay by US check (small discount applies!), please contact us at info at dcpmail.org.


The minimum enrollment is eight students, with a maximum of 14; so, sign-up today!




The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) is focused on the dual goals of scientific research and education: we take results from research projects and disseminate them into educational programs for students of all ages. DCP has a team of researchers (graduated professionals, graduate students, undergraduate interns and volunteers) who work together to examine how dolphins communicate in order to shed more light on the meaning of the interactions between individuals and groups. We have 3 active field sites that include wild and captive dolphins of 3 species. DCP collaborates with vessel operators from Bimini and Dolphin Encounters to study dolphins ranging in age from a few months to more than 30 years old. Below, please find a selected list of DCP's peer-reviewed publications. For a full list of our publications, please visit www.dolphincommunicationproject.org. 


Dudzinski, K.M., Clark, C.W., Würsig, B. 1995. A mobile video/acoustic system for simultaneously recording dolphin behavior and vocalizations underwater. Aquatic Mammals 21(3): 187-193.

Dudzinski, K.M. 1998. Contact behavior and signal exchange among Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis). Aquatic Mammals 24(3): 129-142.

Paulos, R.D., Dudzinski, K.M., Kuczaj, S.A. 2008.  The role of touch in select social interactions of Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus). Ethology 26: 153-164.

Dudzinski, KM, Gregg, JD, Ribic, CA, Kuczaj, SA. 2009. Flipper's flipper - a comparison of how, where and why spotted and bottlenose dolphins use their pectoral fins to touch peers.  Behavioural Processes 80: 182-190.


Melillo, K.E., Dudzinski, K.M., Cornick, L.A. 2009. Interactions between Atlantic spotted (Stenella frontalis) and bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphins off Bimini, The Bahamas, 2003-2007. Aquatic Mammals, 35:281-291


Dudzinski, KM. 2010. Overlap between information gained from complimentary and comparative studies of captive and wild dolphin communication. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 23(4): 566-586.


Dudzinski, K.M., Gregg, J.D., Paulos, R.D., Kuczaj, S.A. 2010. A comparison of pectoral fin contact behaviour for three distinct dolphin populations. Behavioural Processes, 84:559-567.


Greene, W., Melillo-Sweeting, K., Dudzinski, K. 2011. Comparing object play in captive and wild dolphins. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 24(3):292-306.


Dudzinski, KM, Gregg, JD, Melillo-Sweeting, K, Levengood, A, Seay, B., Kuczaj II, SA. 2011. Tactile contact exchanges between dolphins: self-rubbing versus inter-individual contact in three species from three geographies. International Journal of Comparative Psychology - Special Symposium Issue (In Press)


Kelly Melillo Sweeting
Bimini Research Manager
Dolphin Communication Project
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