Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory

Dophin spyhoppingThe Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory is part of the University of Southern Mississippi Department of Psychology and is directed by Dr. Stan Kuczaj. The lab is composed of a group of highly dedicated graduate students, undergraduate students, interns, and volunteers, and is enhanced by our collaborators from around the world.  Our objective is to conduct research on the behavioral and cognitive abilities of marine mammals and other animals as a means of increasing both our scientific understanding and our ability to conserve other species that inhabit the planet we all share.  
Species that are currently being studied include bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales, beaked whales, African and Asian elephants, killer whales, rough toothed dolphins, walruses, Asian small-clawed otters, North American river otters, and hippopotamuses. Current fields of interest include animal personality and emotions, communication, the ontogeny of play and social behavior, planning and problem solving, social behavior in a variety of contexts, and the effects of anthropogenic activities on animals. Our work takes place both in the field and at captive facilities throughout the world, including California, Florida, Honduras, Japan, Mexico and the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
National Geographic: Thinking Like A Dolphin




Click to watch a National Geographic video about dolphin cognition and communication. 


Click to learn about “epimeletic” (care-giving) behavior in wild dolphins.



Click to learn about the cognitive abilities of dolphins, dogs, parrots, and octopuses.

Click to learn about cooperation in dolphins and elephants.


We hope you find this website helpful whether you are interested in graduate school, internship or volunteer opportunities, or simply learning more about dolphins and other marine mammal species.