Perhaps the most popular educational experience at RIMS is the interaction with our bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Authorization of the Honduran government permits RIMS to work with these animals for education and research. The animals are currently housed in two extremely spacious lagoon enclosures, which link the animals to the local ecosystem. Ongoing behavioral studies and medical and morphometric data have been collected since the facility opened. With this information, a database has been established whereby the health, growth patterns, and characteristics unique to the bottlenose dolphins at our facility are being monitored.
Dolphin Communication Project
RIMS is currently involved in a joint project with Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski of the Dolphin Communication Project. The goal of this project is to shed light on how dolphins communicate and the meaning of their interactions. The study uses specially developed underwater video and acoustic recording equipment that localizes the sound sources of individual dolphins and facilitates examination for any relationships between dolphin sounds and behaviors.
Respiratory Systems Study
Dr. Andreas Fahlman Ph.D. received his degree from Canadian University and studied ways to reduce decompression sickness with the US Navy. He has studied marine mammals in Scotland, the subarctic, and the U.S. He is presently at Texas A&M University studying the respiratory system of marine mammals in hopes of designing collaborative research with the open water dolphin programs at RIMS.
Open Water Program
Our open water program was started in 1992 and is still running strong. Paya, one of the original dolphins on the open water team, still swims in the open-ocean nearly every day. There are currently seven dolphins on the open water team. The ability to take the animals out of their sea enclosure makes for some pretty incredible experiences! We are able to take the animals out for educational demonstrations providing local school groups and tourists an opportunity to see the animals in the open ocean and learn about them. The Dolphin Dive enables scuba divers to watch dolphins swimming freely, interacting with each other, the environment, and our guests. The open water program also allows scientists and researchers to consistently gather data on the behavior and physiology of the bottlenose dolphin. The BBC recently filmed our dolphins in the open ocean for their series “Spy on the Pod”.
Dolphin Reading Test
The ability to read is not just limited to humans. The trainers at Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences in Honduras have trained their dolphins to read two-dimensional symbols as commands. In this video, watch as the pupil, a dolphin named Cedana, puts her reading skills to the test. - Doug Hamilton
Produced for NOVA science NOW by Doug Hamilton
Edited by Rob Tinworth
Curious bottlenose dolphins investigate a new toy.
Produced for BBC "Ocean Giants, Deep Thinkers"
Cognitive Scientist - Dr. Stan Kuczaj
Series Producer -Mark Brownlow
Series Producer - Phil Chapman
Narrator - Stephen Fry
Producer - Anuschka Schofield
Executive Producer - Sara Ford