Scientific Research Emma Ashley, Class 2, May 13, Genus: Tursiops

Adapts to the Environment

Dolphins have many ways of adapting to their environment. This means they have a certain way of adjusting to each part of their lifestyle. In other words, adaptation is how an animal adjusts to its surroundings.

Current Event

Off the coast of Florida and South Carolina, two populations of wild dolphins are experiencing more habitually activated immune systems as opposed to dolphins living in controlled environments. This raised concerns of researchers about overall ocean health and the long-term health of bottlenose dolphins. The research was published May 3 in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. It is the first study of its type that analyzed the role that the environment plays in the overall health and immune response of dolphins in the wild compared to those in human care.

Reproduction and Parenting

Reproduction is the process of offspring either sexually or asexually. Dolphins reproduce sexually. Dolphin parenting is just like any other parenting. They are and act like a father or mother to their young.

Current Event

All over the world, dolphins face a variety of impacts that are a threat to their lives. These threats are mainly caused by humans. Some of these include entanglement, habitat loss, and commercial harvest,

Endangered dolphins, such as Maui’s dolphins, are getting close to extinction due to entanglement in fishing gear. The Maui’s, found in the waters of New Zealand, are getting close with estimates suggesting less than 100 of these dolphins still exist.

Growth and Development

Growth is the process in which the dolphin increases in physical size. Development goes hand in hand with growth because it is the maturation of the animal.

Jerald Horst

LSU AgCenter - Sea Grant Louisiana - Louisiana Fisheries

He researched and gathered a bunch of information of the growth and development of dolphins as well as their lifespan. Some of this information is the following.

"Dolphin have an explosively fast growth rate. It may be the only fish for which scientists can measure their growth rate per day. In the Gulf of Mexico, dolphin grow at the rate of five inches per month, toping out at a maximum size of four and one-half to five feet in length in two years. Then they die! Scientists estimate that 100 percent of Gulf of Mexico dolphin die before they are two years old. Live fast-die young!" says Horst.

Horst also says "Dolphin are eating machines. In the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic, they eat more triggerfish than anything else, followed by decapods (shrimp relatives), squid, jacks and flying fish."

Response to Stimuli

Stimuli is something that incites to action or exertion. It also quickens action, feeling, and though. This involves all 5 senses: taste, smell, sound, touch, and hearing. For a dolphin, it is focused on their brain, hearing, eyesight, tactile, and smell.

This graph displays the shipboard measurements of hearing of the white-beaked dolphin.

Current Event

The National Aquarium announced that it will build a sanctuary for its Atlantic bottlenose dolphins by the end of 2020. The sanctuary would be the first of its type in North America. It will provide the dolphins with a protected habitat by the sea. This will create a new option for how dolphins can thrive in human care.

Five years ago, the National Aquarium and its board of directors began exploring new ways to care for the dolphins. They discussed many different options, ranging from rebuilding the existing 25-year-old Marine Mammal Pavilion in a more naturalistic style to moving the dolphins to other accredited facilities. After a lot of thought, the decision was made to create a protected, year-round, seaside refuge with an Aquarium staff that will continue to care for and interact with the dolphins. This will provide the dolphins with the learning of effective practices and principles.

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