[MARMAM] Dolphin Research Field Course

Kel Melillo Sweeting kelly at dcpmail.org
Tue Mar 4 19:05:26 PST 2014

Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) – University Level Field Course

3 – 9 May 2014

Bimini, The Bahamas

The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP, www.dolphincommunicationproject.org) is hosting a field course in cetacean ecology at our Bimini, Bahamas field site. The remaining spaces will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. 

Arrival: 3 May 2014

Departure: 9 May 2014

Course topics: DCP's research methods, photo-ID, dolphin behavior and more 

Schedule: Exact schedule varies by day and weather, but in general, the morning and early afternoon include lectures, discussions and photo-ID exercises. The afternoons are spent on the boat in search of wild dolphins. While on the boat, students assist in data collection, including surface observations and collecting underwater still photographs for DCP's photo-ID catalog (when we are able to observe the dolphins underwater). 

Fee: $1620; Non-refundable deposit of $325 is required to hold your space, with final payment due by 1 April

The course includes 5 boat trips (weather dependent; no refunds), 6 nights' hotel accommodation (double or triple occupancy, fresh water shower, basic cable TV, A/C) and all group meals (students assist with meal prep and clean-up). Students are not required to register for academic credit, although DCP can provide documentation and assessment for your participation should you require it. The course fee does not include tuition credits or airfare to Bimini.

Requirements: All students must be at least 18 years of age and have completed an college-level, introductory biology or psychology course. Students do not need to be currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program. All students must be able to swim. Comfort on a boat is recommended. Rental snorkel gear (mask, fins, snorkel) is available at no additional charge, however personal snorkel gear is recommended to ensure a proper fit. 

DCP looks at how dolphins communicate and attempts to shed more light on the meaning of their interactions. With research ongoing since 1991, our questions focus primarily on communication and behavior among dolphins. An abbreviated publication list is available at the end of this post.

For more information, please contact Kelly Melillo Sweeting at kelly at dcpmail.org.


Selected Refereed Publications:

(for a full list of publications by DCP researchers, please visit: http://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/publications/scientific-publications.html)

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.

Dudzinski, K.M., M. Sakai, M., Masaki, K., Kogi, K., Hishii, T., Kurimoto, M. 2003. Behavioral observations of adult and sub-adult dolphins towards two dead bottlenose dolphins (one female and one male). Aquatic Mammals 29(1): 108-116. 

Gregg, J.D., Dudzinski, K.M., Smith, H.V. 2007. Do dolphins eavesdrop on the echolocation signals of conspecifics? International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 20: 65-88 

Dudzinski, K.M., Thomas, J. Gregg, J.D. 2008. Communication. In (W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig, H.C.M. Thewissen, eds) Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, second edition. Academic Press, Inc.

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, 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. 2012. Tactile contact exchanges between dolphins: self-rubbing versus inter-individual contact in three species from three geographies. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 25:21-43.

Dudzinski, KM, Danaher-Garcia, N, Gregg, JD. 2013. Pectoral fin contact between dolphin dyads at Zoo Duisburg, with comparison to other dolphin study populations. Aquatic

Mammals. 39(4): 335-343.

Melillo-Sweeting, K, Turnbull, S and Guttridge, T. In press. Evidence of shark attacks on Atlantic spotted (Stenella frontalis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off

Bimini, The Bahamas. Marine Mammal Science. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12082


Kelly Melillo Sweeting

Bimini Research Manager

Dolphin Communication Project


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