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Our Summer program in The Bahamas.


Bimini Dolphin Field Course





Program Description

This field course provides students with a unique opportunity to gain research experience in the field by participating in a study of the vocalizations and behavior of wild dolphins.  The course has two components: 1) a one-day lecture-workshop held at Hunter College in May prior to the field course, and 2) participation in a twelve-day field program in the summer at the Bahamas field site.

The Bahamian dolphin populations are very acclimated to human beings, allowing for the unique opportunity to observe these animals in their natural environment. Students and volunteers who join our team during our research trip will assist the researchers in studying the underwater and surface interactions of wild dolphins - this includes assisting with photographing and identifying individual dolphins and recording their behavior. Observations are made underwater while snorkeling, and on the water's surface from a research boat. 

Students will take part in onboard ship observations and may (if desired) take part in underwater observations. Students who feel comfortable with photo ID may also assist in taking underwater photo ID pictures.  Above water data collection includes recording environmental data, recording details of sightings, and recording behavioral observations.  Underwater data collection includes recording details of sightings, and recording behavioral observations.  Additional activities include matching photos of dolphins seen to the photo ID catalogue in order to identify the dolphins, and being 'on watch' to look for approaching dolphin groups. 

Daily schedule: a typical day out at the research site will include a morning or evening lecture, morning photo ID work and data entry, and an afternoon boat trip. Weather permitting, we will have 10 boat trips during the field course. We will have additional time on one or two boat trips to snorkle at a beautiful local snorkling site.

The trip will be led Dr. Daisy Kaplan, Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and Dr. Diana Reiss, Professor, Department of Psychology, Hunter College and The Animal Behavior and Comparative Cognition Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY.


Bahamas Dolphin Field Course SYLLABUS





Application Requirements:

In addition to completing the study abroad application forms, those wishing to apply must complete the following requirements:

  • One letter of recommendation from a Hunter College faculty member who has worked with or taught the student within the last 2 years. This letter must attest to the ability of the applicant to work well as a team member and to follow instructions. Due to the nature of this course and that fact that students are in the water, the student must be able to obey authority immediately (faculty or the boat staff) in order to ensure the safety and research experience for all.
  • Must know how to swim.
  • Interview and approval from the faculty member(s) teaching the course.




Estimated Total Costs of Attendance:

Summer 2016 - BAHAMAS COA


$ 825.00 (undergrad)

$ 1,275.00 (graduate)

Program Fee

$ 2,250.00 (estimate)

Not included in program fee (estimates):


$ 600.00

Ground Transportation

$ 15.00


$ 130.00

TOTAL: $ 3,820.00 per session (undergrad)

TOTAL: $ 4,270.00 per session (graduate)



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