All dolphin photography taken under MMPA Permit #21938-03.
May not be used for commercial purposes.
The Cedar Key Dolphin Project would not be successful without the support from the volunteer team!
Founder, Principle Investigator
Dr. Stefanie Gazda, University of Florida
Dr. Stefanie Gazda first came to Cedar Key in 2001 as a Masters’ student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth under the guidance of Richard Connor in order to study a feeding behavior a local fisherman had captured on video. This driver-barrier behavior was the first documented case of a division of labor with role specialization in a marine mammal, and the second one in any mammal. She went on to base her PhD work on the dolphins of the Cedar Key area and established what is now known as the Cedar Key Dolphin Project.
Jolinde Vlaeyen started her work with the CKDP as a research assistant during the 2018 field season, helping to collect and analyze data, before starting her masters in animal behavior at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She came back during the 2019 field season, and in 2020, when COVID-19 made it impossible to return again, she performed a small remote pilot project on signature whistles as part of her masters. Having worked with both primates and cetaceans, Jolinde fostered a particular interest into bridging the gap between both worlds. Now a PhD candidate at Osnabrück University, she managed to find a way to continue this interest, by including the CKDP dolphin population as a chapter of her PhD. She will investigate whether turn-taking – rapid exchanges of alternating, short, and flexible turns between two or more interactants when communicating – is seen in bottlenose dolphins in the Cedar Keys. Additionally, through a comparative approach, she will investigate how similar it is to bonobo turn-taking, and link it back to what we know about human turn-taking. After her PhD, Jolinde would love to continue doing comparative research on both taxa, with a focus on animal communication and cognition.
Summer 2023 Field Assistants
Carrie developed a lifelong passion for marine science and conservation while growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. She began her career as a network engineer, but after volunteering in marine mammal stranding response and rehabilitation, she decided to return to school to pursue a career in marine mammal research. Carrie graduated from the University of Washington in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in marine biology. She is particularly interested in using acoustics and other technologies to research marine mammal behavior and communication, so she is thrilled to learn more about these topics as a research assistant with CKDP. In her free time, Carrie enjoys gardening and taking her dog on outdoor adventures.
Meher (Nemo) Datta
Born and raised in the coastal city of Mumbai, Meher has been passionate about the oceans since her early childhood. She made the journey to the United States to pursue marine biology and discovered her passions for marine mammal bioacoustics while working as an assistant researcher with the Eckerd College Dolphin Project. Meher is graduating in 2023 with a degree in Environmental Studies and aspires to go to graduate school to study the impacts of anthropogenic noise pollution on cetacean communication.
Summer 2022 Field Assistants
Faith is a rising senior at the University of Florida with a major in zoology. She's always wanted to get involved in marine mammal research and after she graduates, she is interested in continuing her education, researching wildlife and marine biology. This summer she's excited to learn more about dolphin behavior and communication!
Jaiere is a second-year master’s student studying Environmental Science at Tuskegee University, and on track to graduate at the end of April. She received her bachelor’s degree in animal science at Tuskegee University as well and is very interested in and passionate about marine conservation and cetacean behavior. She is excited and eager to gain so much more knowledge on a plethora of topics that the Cedar Key Dolphin Project will be focusing on this summer!
Summer 2021 Field Assistants
Abby Coffey joined our team in June of 2021, participating as a field assistant over this last year. From photo ID, recording behavior, and frantically attempting to capture shots of leaping dolphins for our social media, Abby has been a regular member of our team. While she is completing her online graduate certificate through Oregon State University, she is accompanying our team on our visits out to Cedar Key to collect data. Abby is also completing a Capstone project on the re-evaluation of dolphin stocks off the West Coast of Florida, utilizing data collected throughout CKDP's history. Abby is going to be attending law school in the fall at the #1 law school in both Environmental and Animal Law, Lewis and Clark College (Northwestern).
Amanda is a recent graduate of the University of Florida, where she obtained a Bachelor of Marine Sciences degree in May 2021. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked with the CKDP during the summers of 2020 and 2021 where she was a field assistant intern. Amanda is currently working as a veterinary technician during her gap-year and will be attending veterinary school this upcoming fall! Following veterinary school, Amanda is interested in pursuing a specialization in aquatic veterinary medicine.
Summer 2020 Field Assistants
Suzanna graduated in 2018 from Coker University in Hartsville, South Carolina with a degree in biology and ecology concentration. She started working with Cedar Key Dolphin Project in June 2019 after completing other internships in the US. Since last summer, she has continued to work on the CKDP photo identification catalog. She is interested in the dolphins’ habitat use, particularly during driver-barrier events, and how they may respond to habitat changes due to climate change over time. As of 2020, she is a Stranding Biologist with University of Florida Marine Animal Rescue.
Leslie is from Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao from Coastal Marine Biology. Her interest has always been marine mammals and for that reason she graduated from the Marine Mammal Science MPS in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). During 2020 she worked with Cedar Key Dolphin Project, specifically creating a project using Geographic Information System (GIS) software to answer some questions about the Cedar Key dolphin population's habitat use.
Emma recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Microbiology. While her undergraduate research focused on soil microbiology, she was excited to pursue a career in marine research and conservation. She is especially interested in behavior, bioacoustics, and climate change research and hopes to one day work with arctic species. In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, ice dance and synchronized skating, and embroidery.