New College of Florida fourth-year psychology student Katherine Newton visited Capitol Hill April 23 and 24 to present her thesis project on dolphins’ use of echolocation.
Newton was one of 60 chosen from a pool of more than 800 applicants and presented her work as part of the Council of Undergraduate Research’s Posters. Her visit included briefings, field trips, lectures, and meetings with Rep. Vern Buchanan and staff members for Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio.
Newton examined echolocation or the way dolphins use a sort of sonar to identify objects in their environment. She examined whether dolphins “ping” all aobjects the same way, or whether they could decrease their clicks for objects they are familiar with or can identify easily. Newton compares the research to the way humans search for objects in their own home that they frequently use ir an object in someone else’s home. Previous research found that a dolphins’ echolocation is incredibly precise and they are even able to distinguish two identical shapes made from different allots of metal.
Newton interned with Mote Marine Laboratory last year and is considering working with animals before going to graduate school.