At our lab, we study the intersections between behavior and ecology. Behavior is everything organisms do from the moment they are born until the moment they die; ecology can be all the resultant relationships between these organisms to one another and to their environment. But everything we do has an impact on something else -- we interact. We interact with our physical environment, with our peers, with other species. And these interactions have consequences.
At our lab, we are interested in measuring these consequences for individuals, their populations, our communities, and the ecosystems around us. We study such behavioral and ecological intersections through the interactions between humans and marine mammals. Our current research projects investigate interactions between dolphins and humans, by combining multiple research platforms with computer simulations to understand why the same dolphin species that cooperate with artisanal fishers in one place engages in conflicts with other fisheries in other places. Our ultimate goal is to understand animal and human behavior to promote more positive interactions between such fascinating animals and better connect the marine and terrestrial realms.
(Pictured below) Humans and dolphins in southern Brazil hunt together for mullet fish. Dr. Cantor studies this long-term relationship and how it affects the social bonds of the dolphins and the resilience of the entire ecosystem.