Trip #5 (July 4th – July 13th)
We spent most of our time in Bimini this trip, and lots of new calves and pregnant females are around these days. It’s always critical to track individuals every season and this includes who is pregnant and who shows up with a calf. In the summer of 2016 we had extremely bad weather in Bimini and consequently did not have many sightings. So, a few of the females we have seen this year, probably had a calf last year, but we have only gotten a glimpse this summer of their already one-year-old.
We also continued with our ASPOD work on Trip 5. Abel Ho, a colleague of Matthias from Singapore, also joined us with ASPOD2, the new and improved system. A lot of tinkering happened on the trip and ASPOD is now ready for full and regular deployment in the field. Our goal now is to take ASPOD in the water as much as possible to obtain samples of sounds and behavior. Although it is post processing to obtain the final images, this tool will give us insights never possible before. Who is echolocating when a group is traveling? Do mothers call calves, or do calves call mothers? Or do they call back and forth? Who is vocalizing when two groups of dolphins are fighting? Is it one male dolphin in the front of the group, or do multiple individuals vocalize sequentially or simultaneously? Stayed tuned, we will let you know.
Dr. Denise Herzing, Research Director, WDP