When you’re working with animals as precocious as dolphins, the lines can sometimes be blurred as to who is observing whom!
Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski experienced this recently as she was attaching her Wildlife Acoustics SM2M+ marine recorder to a piling to record dolphin sounds. As you can see in the photos and video we posted, she was quickly greeted by delphinid visitors who were very curious about the bright new yellow object being installed!
Many of these dolphins are not strangers to Dr. Dudzinski, however. She’s been visiting and studying them at Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS) in Honduras since 2003.
Dudzinski is the director of Dolphin Communication Project (DCP), a group focused on dolphin research and education, and the data she gathers at RIMS serve as an integral piece of the puzzle when comparing dolphin communication in the wild and in captivity. That’s because DCP also regularly conducts research on wild dolphin groups in Japan and the Bahamas. Importantly, the group uses the exact same methods to collect data in all cases.
So far, they are finding very little difference between social behaviors in wild and captive dolphins. For example, Dudzinski notes that behaviors such as pectoral fin tactile contact are conserved between the groups.
On this particular research trip, the team used an SM2M+ to record and examine the difference between day and night vocalizations and for using vocalizations between dolphins to discern the quality of dolphin relationships versus time spent together.
The SM2M+ was deployed from Monday (10/18) afternoon to Friday (11/1) late morning and recorded for 10 min of every hour at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz
We can’t wait to hear what they find!
For more information about Dolphin Communication Project and their current/past research, visit their fantastic blog, where you can read stories about their daily dolphin interactions.