Research

Byerly, Holli C., Richardson, Jill L., & Kuczaj, Stan A.

Observations of courtship behaviors and copulation in two, captive populations of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were utilized to assess male mating strategies. Data were collected opportunistically on courtship and copulation over a seven-year period, including information on time of day, season, age, intercopulatory interval, parity, and female reproductive state. The rate of male pre-copulatory behavior peaked during the female estrous cycle (i.e. summer months) but was [...]

Kayla R. Bergman, Holli C. Byerly, Jill L. Richardson, Melissa M. Weierick, & Jessica L. Lilli

Iron storage disease, or hemochromatosis, in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is becoming increasingly more common among captive populations (Mitchell et al., 2008). The exact origin of the disease is unclear, although genetics, diet, and the use of supplements have all been identified as potential driving factors, and iron saturation can lead to toxicity, eventually resulting in severe liver damage. Hemochromatosis was first identified in T. truncatus at the United States Navy [...]

Kristi A. Prevost & Holli C. Byerly

Dolphin behavior is shaped by many factors, which include health, reproductive state, genetics, climate, atmosphere, and social setting. There are three male bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Cove in Key Largo, Florida. Three, thirty minute observations of the dolphins’ behaviors were taken per day following training sessions with the public. Behaviors of the three dolphins during the observations were recorded on an ethogram, which allowed later for a quantification of the dolphins’ social and [...]

Nancy J. Cooper, Jill L. Richardson, Holli C. Byerly, Arthur G. Cooper

Animal training philosophies have evolved dramatically over the last 70 years, encompassing countless methods of behavior modification. Since 1980, Dolphins Plus (DP) and Dolphin Cove (DC), marine mammal facilities in Key Largo, Florida, maintained successful interaction programs utilizing a Fixed Ratio (FR1) schedule of reinforcement with a primary emphasis on relationship, yet with many inconsistencies in protocol and the inadvertent reinforcement of undesirable behaviors. Following an Ocean [...]

Holli C. Byerly, Laura B. Ashley

Animal training is rarely examined methodically, and the science of behavior modification is often limited by subjective accounts, hypothetical constructs, and anthropomorphism. Systematic examinations of applied training techniques and the responses of the animals are feasible yet rarely executed (Young, 2002). An objective assessment is particularly important when attempting to cultivate motivation in animals that are not motivated by food or basic training techniques. This study investigated [...]