August 20, 2014  

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Next Science Café to Feature Southern Miss Dolphin Expert Kuczaj

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Dr. Stan Kuczaj

A University of Southern Mississippiprofessor renowned internationally for his research on dolphin behavior and cognition will be the featured speaker for the next Science Café at Starbucks coffee shop in Cook Library Monday, April 18 from 6-7:30 p.m.

Dr. Stan Kuczaj, professor of psychology and director of the Southern Miss Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory, will discuss research on dolphin cognition and communication, as well as correlations between dolphin and human behavior. Attendees will view "How Smart are Dolphins," a Nova Scienceepisode that aired Feb. 9 that featured Dr. Kuczaj and his research.

The episode features an experiment in dolphin communication on Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras being attempted for the first time in 20 years - one that could prove that dolphins can, in effect, "speak" with one another to coordinate their behavior. Other studies reveal that these playful marine mammals can plan ahead and problem-solve in ways few other animals can.

“People always ask me ‘how intelligent are dolphins?’” Kuczaj said. “The discussion of this question at the Science Cafe will focus on the research presented in the NOVA program, but will also include other aspects of dolphin intelligence and more general issues concerning animal intelligence and communication.”

Held in the Starbucks coffee shop at Cook Library, The Science Café series offers those with minimal or no background in science the chance to meet and discuss scientific issues in layman's terms in a relaxed social setting. It features a member of the Southern Miss faculty sharing his or her expertise at each session with a presentation and short NOVA video. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Tracy Englert at 601.266.6396 or via e-mail at tracy.englert@usm.edu; Additional information can be found at the PBS Nova website, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/how-smart-dolphins.html