Current Studies


The goals of this project are to investigate multiple questions of bottlenose dolphin behavior accomplished through long-term behavioral monitoring and use of Applied Behavior Analysis methodologies for charting changes in behavior and environment for their impact to individual dolphins. This developing dataset can also lead to multiple projects that can be analyzed to address related research questions. 

Collaborators: Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

rough-toothed dolphin Project 

The goals of this project are to establish behavioral profiles for resident rough-toothed dolphins, which can be used to address multiple questions of communication, behavior use/function, and acoustic behavior in this species. This developing dataset can also lead to multiple projects that can be analyzed to address related research questions. 

Collaborators: Clearwater Marine Aquarium 


The goal is to investigate questions of problem solving and symbol discrimination in tigers. This type of project could then be both beneficial to the tigers as a form of enrichment and also contribute to research on feline carnivore problem-solving abilities, an area that is very understudied. We additionally hope to expand this work to other carnivore species. 

Collaborators: Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary 

Amazon River Dolphin Project 

The Amazon River Dolphin project is in collaboration with the Amazon River Dolphin Conservation Foundation (ARDCF) to analyze, interpret, and code audio recordings of Amazon River Dolphins collected by the ARDCF in the Rio Negro part of the Amazon River. The goal of this is to expand what we know about current populations and their acoustic behavior. 

Collaborators: Amazon River Dolphin Conservation Foundation (ARDCF)

Dolphin Mouthing Project 

In literature, it is commonly reported that mouthing behaviors in dolphins serve as aggressive signals, but recent evidence suggests that this may not always be the case. The aim of the present study seeks to determine the function of mouthing behaviors in a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. FAB Lab researchers are working with the Roatan Institute of Marine Science (RIMS) and the Bimini field sites collected by the Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) to code the significance of this behavior and related acoustic signaling. 

Collaborators: Roatan Institute of Marine Science (RIMS), Dolphin Communication Project (DCP)

citizen science Project 

The goal of this project is to investigate the role of Citizen Science in data collection related to the monitoring of behavior and welfare of aquarium housed species. This survey based project relies on voluntary participation of the general public in observing animals and responding to a series of questions related to their well-being.

Collaborators: Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

PAST Studies

Horseshoe Crab Behavior Project 

The horseshoe crab behavior project developed an ethogram of horseshoe crab behavior, which was not previously available or complete in the literature. They ran a maze test to gain insight into horseshoe crab learning behaviors. Researchers from the FAB Lab and Professor Higgins Limulus Project helped to collect and code the data for this study. This work was presented at the 2023 IMATA-ABMA Conference in Atlanta, GA and the 2023 CO3 Conference in Melbourne, FL.

Human Attitudes on Conservation 

This project sought to answer two main questions: How close do humans feel to animals that live so far away? How likely are we to promote their conservation? Researchers aimed to determine what engages people in animal conservation based on perceived distance.

Tiger King Impact and Media Perception

This study looked to investigate the impact that the docuseries "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" had on a variety of variables related to big cat species welfare, management, and facility perception. The results from this study provided a better understanding of the role that media plays on public perceptions of animal welfare issues.