Sunday, July 14, 2013

On the St. John's River with Dolphins

So Matt's job is pretty great. Last week, we ventured out with the University of North Florida's Research team, as they did their weekly research on the local dolphin population. The team is collecting information on the 300+ local dolphin population in the St. John's river.

Doctor Quincy Gibson heads the team of Masters and Undergrad students that collect all kinds of information on the dolphins from the mouth of the St. Johns at Mayport, all the way to downtown Jacksonville. We accompanied them for about two hours of their eight hour day, watching dolphins and recording for Matt About Jax. It's incredible to see Dr. Gibson shout of the names and identify some of the 100+ of the she's named in the population. By simply spotting it's dorsal fin through her lens, she knows exactly which dolphin it is.

Have you ever seen baby dolphins? Oh my goodness, they are too cute! According to Dr. Gibson, you can spot a mother and calf based on their surfacing patterns. If two dolphins are just cruising along in the river, one surfaces, following a second later by another, and they are side-by-side, the second one is usually the calf, or baby dolphin. They stay with their mothers for up to 6 years, and stay close behind her, so it's easier to nurse as the mom swims. 

Another interesting thing about the research here in Jacksonville with UNF, is the study of the male behavioral patterns. Male dolphins and human beings share one thing in common no other species on the planet exhibits. Male dolphins pair up, and two males court the female dolphin. Here in Jacksonville, these pairs of males team up with other teams of males, and compete for the women's time and mating. Pretty funny, huh? This research team has a pretty cool job, following and observing dolphin behavior! How much fun, and seeing those little babies this time of year is so exciting. We didn't see any tiny babies, but this picture will melt your heart.

For more information on this awesome research project, check out their website.

Truly a nice break from my sewing! Can't complain when the breeze hits my scalp and the sun shines down on our shoulders! The river is so beautiful!

 You can see Matt's video here. Thanks to UNF that let us come out and observe their research!

Hope y'all had a great weekend! Rachael is in town, and we're about to do some house hunting! Surpise: Rachael is moving here next month when she gets out of the Navy! WOO HOO!

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