With the help of their passengers, the crew of Dolphin Explorer photographs and chronicles every dolphin sighting they make on their regular daily trips. Comparing the shape and markings on the dorsal fi ns to their on- board library of previously encountered dolphins, they are able to recognize individuals, name them and build up a bank of knowledge about them. Welcome to Marco, Little Ones! 2009 was the most productive year since Dolphin Explorer started their scientifi c study in February 2006. So far there have been seven " young of the year" positively identifi ed in Area 1 compared to fi ve in ' 08 and six in both ' 07 and ' 06. The research has shown that the mother will keep the newborn in a relatively confi ned area initially and as they grow and strengthen that area widens. Star Survey area The team divided the survey into 3 geographical phases. Area 1 runs from the ABC islands near the Jolley Bridge, north to marker 44 which is about halfway up Keewaydin Island on the inter- coastal. The Facts and Figures... Calf Mother Sightings 1st Sighting Kellogg Yorkshire Lass 3 9/ 04/ 09 Nadine Tess 3 9/ 12/ 09 Star Bootstrap Bill 3 9/ 12/ 09 Aubrey Avery 3 9/ 25/ 09 Moca Rangle 9 9/ 26/ 09 Cameron Patch's Twin 1 10/ 06/ 09 Doubledip Giza 2 10/ 22/ 09 Move on Son Three of the mothers ( Ran-gle, Avery and Patch's Twin) had 3 year old calves at the time of giving birth to their newborns. The older calves were forced to begin surviv-ing on their own. Otherwise they would stay with their mothers until they were 6 or 7 years old. was sighted at the end of Marco River originally but more recently ( at age about two months) has been sighted several miles up the inter- coastal waterway. The same holds true for Moca, who was sighted eight times in the river, then some miles up the inter- coastal, again when she was about 2 months old. The research team is beginning to realize that when it comes to bottlenose dolphins, there are females and then there are mothers. Six of the seven dolphins that gave birth in ' 09 already had other calves with them that had been born within the last four years, but there are other females in Area 1 who have not been sighted with any calves yet. Ongoing Research The Dolphin Explorer research is on-going and The Marco Review will be featuring updates in future issues. If you would like to participate in this impor-tant scientifi c project ( and hopefully spot one of the calves born in September or October) call 239- 642- 6899.
Page 96 www. marcoreview. com New Year 2010 ON THE WATER