(Miami, Florida) Marine researchers who have been observing
the same pod of dolphins off Florida's eastern coast for three years
have now, for the first time, photographed the dolphins swimming directly northward.
"These bottlenose dolphins, possibly the smartest creatures on Earth,
were observed swimming directly northward", said Prof. Bonita Krillman. "Given
the recently observed warming of the tropical oceans, we theorize that
this pod is heading poleward in search of cooler waters".
Underwater listening devices, used to pick up the normal playful squeals of
the fun-loving dolphins, recorded squeals with a noticably different timbre, the
researchers reported. "They sounded more terrified than playful", claimed
Crystal Dearing, a graduate student working toward a degree in Anthropogenic
Environmental Disasters at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. "They sounded
distressed and fearful".
The scientists, who perform their work aboard the research ship "Gaia's Revenge"
were noticeably shaken
by the observation of the dolphin pod's behavior. "We were performing our
usual tasks -- photographing and communing with the pod -- when someone yelled,
'Oh my God! They are travelling directly northward!'. We were stunned at the obvious
implications of this unusual behavior", related Ms. Dearing.
Dr. William Fishman, program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
(NOAA's) Sustainable Wildlife Division was also troubled by the news. Contacted by
phone, Dr. Fishman said "this is exactly what we would expect for dolphin behavior...
if you had hot water poured on you, you would flee, wouldn't you?"
The group plans to extend their two week research cruise by another week to see how far
northward the dolphins migrate. Even though the researchers have been working
in the same region off the Florida coast for ten years, the present pod has
been studied for only three years. Tragically, another pod that had been closely followed
for seven years was decimated by a great white shark in 2003.
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