WDP’s goals and objectives to maintain a long-term database tracking family units, remains the same for our long-term work. New technology has allowed us to expand our area of exploration, still non-invasively, while maintaining our regular projects.
Goal: Monitor life history and reproduction of Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins.
Objective: Maintain continuity of identifying individuals every summer.We are on the third generation of Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins’ life history and reproduction.
Goal: Track association patterns of Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins.
Objective: Track the relationships and dynamics between individual dolphins and family groups. Because we have tracked many of these individuals for 25 years, we can observe the stability, and shifting dynamics, of individuals and generations throughout their lives and critical events (reproduction, etc).
Goal : Track interspecific association and behavior interactions between Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins.
Objective: Regular observations of social interactions between these two closely related, and sympatric species, will illuminate how two different neighboring cultures live together.
Goal : Analyze genetics of Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins.
Objective: Collecting fecal samples and extracting DNA of identifiable individuals will illuminate the paternity, relatedness of the spotted dolphins and potential hybridization between spotted and bottlenose dolphins. This non-invasive technique aims to revolutionize the genetic data collection of marine mammals.
Goal : Record high frequency sound recordings of Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins.
Objective: Because of the digital revolution we are now able to record the ultrasonic sounds of dolphins, previously inaccessible with old video units.
Goal : Decode dolphin vocalizations.
Objective: With our underwater video dataset of acoustic, postural, and visual signals of three generations of dolphins we are situated to crack the code of dolphin communication. Decoding dolphin vocalizations is the first step in many to the ultimate goal of two-way communication with another species.
Goal : Educate the scientific, public, and private sectors.
Objective: WDP researchers present local, national, and international lectures to share information of wild spotted dolphins. For larger distribution, WDP has created Protect-A-Pod kits, an educational package designed to assist school teachers, on the Pre-K thru 12th grade levels, in their effort to introduce the students to the Earth’s other inhabitants, specifically marine life and ways to keep the Earth clean and safe.
Goal : Digitize and create a multi-media underwatervideo database.
Objective: With a 25 year underwater video dataset, WDP is situated to share the amazing livesand underwater behavior of dolphins in the wild. We must preserve, index and archive data to ensure a multi-media library for the future.
Goal : Develop a mult-media educational display
Objective: Create awareness to the public by displaying our 25 years of research in local public venues (state parks, museums, etc) in order to protect the environment and the animals that inhabit our surroundings we must educate the public.
Goal : Monitor habitat and distribution changes of Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins.
Objective: To continue tracking the locations of these resident dolphins in order to identify environmental impacts on their habitats and shifting distribution.
Goal : Determine pollution and toxicology of dolphin prey species.
Objective: Assess and monitor the toxicity levels of heavy metals and organometallic compounds, presented in prey species to determine risks to marine organisms and to human consumers.
Goal : Expand current field site to include neighboring Bahamian waters where spotted and bottlenose dolphins reside.
Objective: It is important to understand potential interaction with surrounding communities as this may be a survival method during environmental changes (i.e. hurricanes, shipping channel changes) or fundamentally support the sustainability of the population through limited genetic exchange.
Goal : Florida coast expansion to include coastal bottlenose dolphins and offshore cetacean diversity.
Objective: Offshore surveys will document the species diversity of cetaceans along the southeast coast of Florida. The intracoastal surveys will focus on exploring a geographic study site along the southeast coast of Florida, ultimately allowing for multiple comparisons between other coastal populations and those found far from shore in the shallow waters of the Bahamas.