Dolphins are critical to ocean conservation efforts
Situated atop the food chain, dolphins are vital to the overall balance of the world’s oceans. Like whales, they belong to a group of marine mammals called cetaceans and provide researchers with insight into marine ecosystem dynamics, the effects of human-caused noise, chemical pollution, habitat degradation and changes in climate.
Unlike most whale species, dolphins are generally social creatures that live in groups. They have been observed communicating via squeaks, whistles, buzzes and clicks that can be heard for miles underwater. All dolphins (and porpoises) are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and some are also listed under the Endangered Species Act.
How We’re Helping
We collect data on individual and population metrics
Biopsy Samples: Biopsy samples provide valuable insights into the overall health of individuals and impacts of chemical and plastic pollutants.
CATS Tags: Utilizing CATS camera tags, we collect fine-scale movement data, helping us understand foraging techniques and energy expenditure.
Photo Identification: Our photo identification methods enable long-term tracking of individual dolphins, with some animals being documented for over 25 years, offering unique insights into their life histories.
UAS (Unoccupied Aerial Systems or Drones): We utilize UAS technology to assess the body condition and health of both individual dolphins and the entire population, enhancing our ability to monitor their well-being.
- Mapping the Exposure of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins and Common Bottlenose Dolphins to Different Categories of Vessel Traffic in Maui Nui, Hawai‘i
- Tourism informing conservation: The distribution of four dolphin species varies with calf presence and increases their vulnerability to vessel traffic in the four-island region of Maui, Hawai‘i