From the Field - December 2022

We had another great day in the field during our last photo ID survey. Immediately at the start of the survey we encountered our first group of dolphins on the oceanside, and what we initially thought to be a small group continued to grow, as more and more dolphins were observed in the area. The dolphins were dispersed over a very large area and remained that way throughout the entire sighting. When a pod is distributed in this way, it becomes very difficult to keep track of each individual while taking photographs. The Photo ID Team tried our best to get photos of every dolphin in the group, but as they move in and out amongst each other, we can’t always tell whether we’ve taken photos of them yet. It’s likely that a few dolphins managed to escape our camera, but after analysis in the lab, we still managed to get photos of 33 different dolphins! Throughout the sighting, we observed a variety of behaviors, with social interaction and foraging as the most prominent. 

The second and final group of dolphins were also observed on the oceanside of Key Largo. This was a smaller group of 9 dolphins, swimming together more cohesively throughout the sighting, which made it much easier to photograph each individual. The most observed behaviors with this group were milling (non-directional slow swimming) and social interaction. Of special note, we observed one animal in this group with a significant portion of its dorsal fin and body affected by a skin disorder. This dolphin is a new addition to our catalog and will become one of a few that are affected by this skin disorder. We will keep a closer eye on these animals to monitor for potential transmission, and progression of the lesions.

Posted by DPMMR Staff at 00:00