UAE Dolphin Project at the American University of Dubai

Very active and determined students at the American University of Dubai! Few months ago they started their own Diving Club and and in turn they contacted the UAE Dolphin Project as yes, they want to dive but also, through their activity, they want to make a difference towards the conservation of the marine environment. Talk was set for the 2nd of November with an impeccable organization lead by the student organiser Karina. Not only they were interested in knowing about dolphins in UAE, but they took things seriously! A whole student crew was there getting ready the room with latest filming technology, Go Pros, lights and microphones! Lead by their professor in Digital Media they filmed the whole event that they will make into a professional video. Thank you for having the UAE Dolphin project and we look forward to seeing your work and further the collaboration!

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Students learn dolphin research

“Build local human capability and give a chance to local students to experience hands on what dolphin research means”, this is one of our educational target. So last August we contacted the students that already expressed their interest in the project and proposed them to become dolphins scientist for a month,  learn more about dolphins and the techniques utilised to study them in the wild and get trained in Photo Identification data analysis helping us analysing the data collected so far during our survey. Individual dolphins can be identified by the shape of their dorsal fin so the Photo-Identification analysis is used to identify the single dolphins individuals and track them in their movements in a region. Photo-Id data are also invaluable to estimate the size of a population.

They simply have done a fantastic job! and now the results of the analysis are about to be unified in the first dolphin fin catalogue available in the Gulf for two of the three species most frequently observed along the UAE coastline, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. Watch out this space for exciting news soon!

We organised two group of students, on based in Abu Dhabi with the support of the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, that provided the venue, and one in Dubai at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, one of our main sponsors. Abu Dhabi based group was lead by Camilla one of our permanent volunteers, specialised in PhotoIdentification analysis, and the Dubai group was supervised by the project director. Students were from different background from local and international universities and secondary schools. They all showed an amazing determination and commitment throughout the period squeezing their eyes through the over 4,000 pictures collected during our research survey in Dubai waters and pictures sent by the public through the “Report a Sighting” system. Some students also joined the research survey on board and some are due to join us soon.

It has been great to see their enthusiasm and surely they are now back to their studies with a better idea of what research on a marine species means! Thanks go to Shamsa, Veronica, Joanna Francesca, Emma, Akshata, Sarah, Sara and Sudha for their great participation!


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UAE Dolphin Project meets the students at NYUAD

Feature: Nassim Seyedali
On Sunday 7 September, 2014, the UAE Dolphin Project was invited by New York University Abu Dhabi to attend the Career and Community Outreach Fair.  It was a great day at the new NYUAD campus on Saadiyat Island.  We spent the afternoon speaking with many undergraduate students who were eager to learn about the project.  Many other charities as well as for-profit companies were present and the UAEDP stand stayed busy all afternoon!  Students from various programs of the university were interested in volunteering for the UAE Dolphin Project.  We certainly have many potential talented volunteers and we look forward to working with them in the future.
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At Raffle International School children learn about ocean pollution and dolphins

It is not without good reason that Raffle International School has been name one of the ECO Schools in UAE. For the second year the UAE Dolphin project was please to join the children of the Year 3, on the 6th of May, to talk about the main source of pollution for the ocean, how this influence dolphins and us, and what everyone can do to reduce our impact on the marine environment. Over 150 children participated to the talk and there where lots of question to be answered at the end!

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Kids and dolphins at the Dubai American Academy school

What a great time we had with the KG2 children of the Dubai American Academy school on the 15th of June! They were so excited to know about dolphins and what great questions they asked!
These are some of the works they did after the presentation and they speak for themselves.

Among the many question one stroke my attention as after so many years of working with dolphins and giving presentation nobody ever asked before: “Why dolphins are not colourful?” Do you know the answer?…..scroll to the end of the page!

“I learned that there is a tiny dolphin with no fins not a single bit.”
“I learned that when dolphins jump, that many they need to breathe oxygen.”
“I learned the difference about sharks and dolphins. Thank you Ms. Ada”
“I learned that dolphins have good eyes. They cannot see things that are far.”
“The whales if they have teeth they are dolphins.”
“Some whales are dolphins.”
“I learned that dolphins have dorsal fins and they can stay in the water for two hours.”
“I learned that dolphins attack sharks. Thank you ms. Ada for teaching us about dolphins.”
“I learned about different dolphins.”
“Dolphins are mammals. The dolphin can find their friends by calling them.”
“I learned that the whales that have teeth are dolphins.”
“I learned that dolphins live in the place I live.”
“I learned that some dolphins have fins and some doesn’t.”
“The dolphins breathe from their hole and they jump out from the water.”
“The dolphins have good eyes, dolphins follow fish and sometimes man over fish, some dolphins get captured.”

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Dolphins are predators and they need to catch their prey! A greyer coloration on top and lighter on the belly is a very common coloration for top marine predators, like dolphins, sharks and also some predatory fish like tuna. This provides them camouflage in the water. If seen from below the lighter belly will blend in against the brightness of the surface and if seen from above the dark back will blend in with the deep waters below.
Colourful coloration are generally used by species to intimidate their predators.