Students Participate in Florida Keys Extended Study

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During winter break, January 1–19, 2019, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Ann Jane Tierney led a team of students from BIOL 341 or NEUR 385 on an extended study trip to the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, Fla. The group participated in ongoing cognitive and behavioral research, focusing on current theories and methods in studies of marine mammals. They also considered conservation issues relevant to marine organisms and their environment.

Four students motion to nearby dolphin

Participants in an extended study to the Florida Keys signal, “Attention, please!” to a dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center. From left to right: Morgan Beatty ’20, Esther Lee ’20, Brady Mediavilla ’20, and program director Ann Jane Tierney, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. Photo by Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida – dolphins.org

Student rubs sunscreen on dolphin fin while trainer, sitting nearby, watches

Alexus Gian ’20 assists a trainer in marking a dolphin with zinc oxide sunscreen. The marks on the dorsal fin help researchers identify individual animals quickly when making behavioral observations. Photo by Gillian Schutt ’20. Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida – dolphins.org

Two students and trainer, sitting, hold miniature boats while dolphin watches

The dolphin Pandora plays match-to-sample games with her trainer and Colgate students. Can she choose which object held by a student matches the sample held by her trainer? She can! Far left, Nick Dennis ’19; far right, Carolyn Senneca ’20. Photo by Gillian Schutt ’20. Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida – dolphins.org

Student juts elbow out towards dolphin as three students and a trainer, standing, watches

We learned how to communicate with dolphins using hand signals and voice commands. Brady Mediavilla ’20 signals for a spiral speed run and the dolphin is happy to perform the behavior. On the boardwalk from left, Sasha Mikus ’20, Alexus Gian ’20, Esther Lee ’20, and Morgan Beatty ’20. Photo by Gillian Schutt ’20. Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida – dolphins.org

Group of students wave to dolphin as it swims away

Students exchange waves with a dolphin friend. We learned that dolphins like to interact with human visitors, especially if the visitors clap and cheer for them. From left to right: Sydney Ziatek ’19, Alexus Gian ’20, Esther Lee ’20, Sasha Mikus ’20, Morgan Beatty ’20, Brady Mediavilla ’20, Isabelle DiBiase ’19, Abby Gilman ’19. Photo by Gillian Schutt ’20. Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida – dolphins.org