Cedar Key dolphins noted for unique feeding behavior

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Talk scheduled June 14

By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts say there's something special about Cedar Key dolphins.
"They have unique feeding behaviors not seen anywhere else in the world," said doctoral candidate Stefanie Gazda in a phone interview Friday.
Gazda heads up the Cedar Key Dolphin Project, a program that operates in the area for a few short weeks each year aimed at a better understanding the creatures and the environment they live in.
"We want to see where they go, what they do, who they meet up with and who they don't meet up with."
Gazda came to the area in 2001 after an advisor, Frank Cox, saw video from a local fishermen on Cedar Key dolphin behavior and suggested the mammals might be a good subject for her master's thesis.
Gazda spent three months in Cedar Key, and what she discovered is that bottlenose dolphins in the area exhibit role specialization when it comes to hunting.
The dolphins organize, she said. One is designated as a "driver," sending fish—mostly mullet—into a circle of other dolphins.

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