Alfonz – February is a month of love and Alfonz has been our very own Cupid this month! For the past few weeks, he has been very flirtatious with the other dolphins and has been showing off his best selection of creative behaviors to impress the ladies.
Although our focus is whales and dolphins, we will never say "no" to helping out with our other marine mammal friends in the Florida Keys: the Florida Manatee.
The research department was honored to publish our article, The Effects of Reproductive Status and Water Temperature on the Caloric Intake of Tursiops truncatus in Aquatic Mammals last month. This manuscript is the culmination of over a decade of data collection to advance our understanding of odontocetes' energetic requirements. Several studies have examined the consumption patterns and energy requirements of cetaceans, yet little is known about how these values change with respect to reproductive status and small scale changes in water temperature. Access to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) living under human care in natural seawater enclosures allows for a detailed look into diet (i.e., specific to each catch), intake, and relative energetic adjustments made in response to reproductive and thermoregulatory demands. This project aimed to provide valuable information regarding the complex intersection between life history, season, and prey resources. These data may provide conservative estimates of caloric need for extrapolation to free-ranging populations to estimate the carrying capacity of specific habitats, the resilience of cetaceans in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressure and environmental change, and the impact dolphins have on prey resources and trophic cascades.
Topics: Animal Welfare
Protecting animals has become a passion for many as humans continue interact with animals on personal and professional levels.
Connecting with other species is vitally important, as it’s through education that we are better able to understand animals and the threats that they face. This knowledge allows us to reevaluate how we as humans treat the other organisms that share the planet, and perhaps make positive and proactive changes in our lifestyles to better protect ecosystems (such as recycling).