NMFS/MMPA Permit #21321

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.

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Dolphins we study

Spinner Dolphins

Photo Credit: David Fleetham

Bottlenose Dolphins

NMFS/MMPA Permit #21321

Spotted Dolphins

Photo Credit: David Fleetham

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.

NMFS/MMPA Permit #21321
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Photo Gallery

Two dolphins jumping out of the water.


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