October 31, 2014  

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Southern Miss Professor Interviewed by BBC for 'Natural World' Series

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Dr. Stan Kuczaj and friend.
Dr. Stan Kuczaj is professor of psychology and director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Stan Kuczaj, professor of psychology and director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory, was recently interviewed by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) for a future episode of its “Natural World” series. The show airs on the Animal Planet channel.

The interview focused on Kuczaj’s behavioral and cognitive research on walruses, which has been ongoing for the last five years at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif. Kuczaj and his graduate students are also renowned internationally for similar research on dolphins, which has been featured on NOVA, the science television show produced by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

“We study the difference in the kinds of sounds they (walrus) make underwater and above water, their ability to distinguish differences in amounts and mating behavior,” Kuczaj said. “It’s a species that very little research has been done on in terms of cognition and communication.”

Kuczaj and his graduate students in the laboratory have conducted international research on marine mammals and other animals for more than 20 years, both in the field and in captive facilities around the world. The laboratory’s projects have received support from the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Department of Commerce, among other entities.

“Dr. Kuczaj and his students continue to conduct ground-breaking research in marine mammal cognition and behavior, and it’s no wonder it draws international attention,” said Dr. Joe Olmi, chairman of the Department of Psychology. “We’re proud of his achievements and the opportunities he provides students, and privileged and fortunate to have him as part of the department’s faculty.”

The Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory is housed in the College of Education and Psychology’s Department of Psychology. For more information on the laboratory, online visit http://www.usm.edu/psy-kuczaj/