Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Application Period for the College begins November 1st

Want to work with marine mammals, then the College of Marine Mammal Professions may be right for you!

The CMMP was established by Dolphin Research Center in 2012 in response to the limited availability of licensed  professional educational programs that prepare individuals for careers regarding the behavior, care and training of marine mammals. Currently the CMMP offers an Associate of Science Degree in Marine Mammal Behavior, Care and Training, with the intention of expanding and offering other degrees within the field of marine mammal professions.

The College of Marine Mammal Professions is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 4766.

To apply, go to our website and check out the prerequisites and requirements. If you meet these, fill out an application and send it in between November 1st and December 31st.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our Middle Name

Research has always been an important part of DRC. After all, research is our middle name! DRC evolved out of the Institute for Delphinid Research. When DRC's founders took over the facility in 1984, research remained a high priority. We have since expanded our in-house research goals, and also worked with world-renowned scientists who have come to DRC to study our resident colony of dolphins. DRC’s research program focuses on three main areas: Cognition, Behavior and Husbandry.

Here are some reasons why we do research:
  • It provides our dolphins and sea lions with mental stimulation. What we call "cognitive research," the animals experience as "thinking games."  They have a fantastic time thinking & figuring things out.

  • It contributes to scientific knowledge of dolphins and of other animals. There's a lot we don't know about dolphins yet. For example, we know that dolphins are smart, but we don't yet know all the specifics of that - and those specifics are important. Dolphins have evolved within a completely different environment, different body plan, and different neuroanatomy from humans for a long time now [~ 90 to 95 million years]. We're different in a lot of ways. So when we find out that dolphins can do something, we also compare it to what other animals and people can do, so it tells us: (1) something about dolphins and (2) something about the ways in which intelligent behaviors evolve in general.

  • The new knowledge that research generates can benefit the animals, both in human care and in the wild. The more we understand these animals, the better we will be able to meet their needs.

  • Cognitive studies inspire conservation. For better or for worse, it is human nature to care more about animals that we view as intelligent. When guests visit DRC and see Talon doing math, or Tanner imitating in such a clever way, it invites a new kind of connection with the dolphins. This connection can inspire more care and compassion for dolphins and the environment they live in.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Open Enrollment for DolphinLab & Dolphin Camp!

Want to take part in a seven-day program that surveys a wide range of knowledge, theories and ongoing research concerning dolphins, the marine environment and related issues? Dolphin Research Center offers week long programs to meet those needs: Dolphin Camp (ages 10-14), Teen DolphinLab (ages 15-17) and Adult DolphinLab (18+)! Students meet DRC's resident dolphin population, learning to respect each dolphin as an individual through observation of their unique behavioral and physical characteristics. The courses also offer a combination of educational seminars, workshops, demonstrations, in water and hands-on learning activities with our dolphins, sea lions and staff family. All of Dolphin Research Center's Adult DolphinLab classes are fully college accredited.

Check out a video on what you can expect to do during your program:

Go to our website to learn more about these exciting opportunities!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Holiday Photos Program Returns to Dolphin Research Center

A unique holiday photo to share!

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, imagine how friends and family will talk when they see a holiday photo picturing you and a dolphin!  Now through December 19th, Dolphin Research Center is again giving guests the opportunity for a holiday photo.  Visitors who participate in DRC’s Meet the Dolphin program can bring their own Santa hats, reindeer antlers or other accessories to use while posing.  DRC’s experienced photographers will shoot the pictures using high-resolution digital cameras.  For Meet the Dolphin guests go onto a floating dock to give backrubs and share a “flippershake” with a dolphin and have their photo taken.  The program is offered several times each day on a walk-in basis and costs $25 per person in addition to general admission prices.  The photos are supplied on a flash drive for $20 for one person and $35 for multiple people in the same shot.  Quality prints are also available and print prices vary depending on number ordered.  Group size is limited to four people.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hot Topics

Facilities like Dolphin Research Center make it possible for us to interact with dolphins in an environment that is respectful and safe for both humans and animals.

Marine mammals fascinate people. They inspire us in countless ways and motivate us to be concerned about their welfare -- those in the wild as well as those in human care, such as the dolphins and sea lions that live at Dolphin Research Center. Sometimes people disagree and are passionate in their opinions. We understand. Dolphin Research Center is passionate about the wellbeing of marine mammals everywhere! It is the foundation of everything we do. In today's world, there are many debates and, unfortunately, a wealth of misleading, often deliberately incorrect information. This Hot Topics section is presented as a resource to learn about Dolphin Research Center's position on some of these debates and to share correct information.

Click here to check out our Hot Topics section on the Dolphin Research Center website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Study Suggests Dolphins and Whales Scream in Delight!

Anyone who visits DRC experiences how vocal the dolphins are during their sessions and when greeting guests. It has always appeared to us that they did so in happiness. A new study now explains the science! Check it out here

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sandy's Crowd Splash

We can't wait to see Sandy's finished crowd splash!

After seeing the dolphins and sea lions show off, guests often ask “How long does it take to teach them?” That is an excellent question and the answer depends on the individual. Sandy is learning something brand new that is a great example of how many steps are included in the training process. As a 35 year old male; Sandy has come up with some awesome behaviors on his own. He’s the only dolphin that does a full belly flop and often steals the spotlight when he shows it off. While knowing a few amazing behaviors is great, we like to continuously challenge the dolphins both mentally and physically and add new twists to familiar behaviors as well as teaching something entirely new.

Sandy is in training to learn a behavior some of the other big males know, his crowd splash. The end result of asking a dolphin to do this is a lot of wet guests, but in the hot Florida Keys sun it’s pretty refreshing. However, to do this there are several steps a trainer has to work out with the dolphin.

The first of which is how to swim on their side while still moving forward in a straight line. Dolphins use their side flippers, called pectorals, to steer. This is how they are able to do such amazing turns and spirals. Sandy has to use his pecs in conjunction with his peduncle and ab strength to get the right angle in his swim. His trainer, Jamie, uses a target pole to teach him to wiggle his body in the correct way. He’s almost learned how to do it but still needs reminders on occasion. Once he’s got that movement down, she’ll ask him to put some strength into his kick so that he can give his crowd a splash.

Once he has that combination down, the next thing is take the speed up a notch. Crowd splashes are fun because they come out of nowhere. You see a trainer station a dolphin and ask for something, then before you know it, you’re soaking wet. It’s the sneak attack that makes it so fun!

We have no doubt this big guy, who is nearly ten feet long, will learn this behavior and enjoy it. He’s a goof to begin with, so something this fun is right up his alley. Just think, one day you’ll be relaxing by the back causeway, and then before you know it you’ll be splashed by Sandy! It’s literally going to be a blast.