Posts Tagged 'marine mammal conservation'

2013 Dolphin Count Results Are In!

Staff from the National Aquarium Animal Rescue program were joined by volunteers today for the annual Maryland Dolphin Count. This year, 113 dolphins were sighted!

national aquarium dolphin count 2013

Volunteers of all ages braved the rain to help record dolphin sightings at four locations along the Eastern Shore of Maryland – three beach locations in Ocean City and at the Assateague State Park Day Use Area.

national aquarium dolphin count 2013

In Ocean City, our team also spotted numerous pelicans and osprey diving for fish!

pelicans ocean city maryland

Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists capture a snapshot look at dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. Looking at the population numbers over the years can help to determine the health of the coastal ecosystem as well as the abundance of prey.

national aquarium dolphin count 2013

We want to send out a big thank you to all those who joined our team today!

Click here for more information on National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program and how the general public can assist with rescue efforts!


Assessing the Status of Dolphin Populations Off Maryland’s Coast


This Friday, July 12, the National Aquarium will participate in our annual Dolphin Count in Ocean City, Maryland. This event (which is free and open to the public!) provides an excellent snapshot of ocean health as well as the status of the dolphin population living off of our shoreline.

Participating in the dolphin count is a lot of fun (who doesn’t love a day at the beach?) and requires only a few basic skills, like the ability to identify animals based on fins or body markings.

dolphin count

The goal of the count is to better understand the reproductive rates as well as gain an estimated total number of dolphins in our local population. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding and feeding.  While the bottlenose dolphins found off our shores are not considered to be endangered, this species still faces serious threats such as entanglement and bycatch.

Dolphins spotted off the coast of Ocean City. Credit: John Soule

Dolphins spotted off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. Credit: John Soule

Seeing dolphin social groups interact with one another is a rare opportunity for those who join us for this annual event. Dolphin societies function very differently from our own; females and their calves may stay together for life. Males, however, form separate groups called alliances once they are no longer nursing. These bachelor groups will then travel between the female groups to mate.

Our dolphin population consists primarily of animals that were born here at the National Aquarium or at other aquariums around the country. As we try to mimic the natural group settings that dolphins experience in the wild, our six female dolphins live together in a social group and our two juvenile males have formed an alliance as a pair bond.

In the area? Our Dolphin Count event is free and open to the public! Can’t join us this year? Be sure to follow @NatlAquarium and our Animal Rescue expert @JennDittmar on Twitter for real-time updates! 


Calling All Students! Do You Have a Passion for Conservation?

National Aquarium announces an exciting paid opportunity for undergraduate students interested in the conservation sciences!

Starting in summer 2013, we will host four students for an eight-week hands-on program focused on Chesapeake Bay ecology and marine mammal conservation. This program helps foster the students’ understanding, appreciation and stewardship of our local aquatic habitats (and the plants and animals they support!). Our hope is that by exposing students to these experiences, it will inspire them to pursue a future career in the conservation sciences.

Interns will be fully immersed in the field throughout the program!

Interns will be fully immersed in the field throughout the program!

The Aquarium is actively involved in conservation educationapplied restoration of habitats and preservation of marine animal species and provides a unique platform for student involvement.  Students are encouraged to participate in all facets of habitat restoration and animal rehabilitation and release.

Students are given the opportunity to assist on important conservation trips, like our annual shark tagging.

Students are given the opportunity to assist on important conservation trips, like our annual shark tagging.

Our chosen participants will also have the opportunity to work with Aquarium partners also actively engaged in conservation, research and management issues.  These issues involve a variety of state, local and federal government and non-government organizations.  Students will have the opportunity to make very important contacts within the conservation field.

In addition to being paid for their time in the program, students will also be offered housing in a nearby facility.  Applications are being accepted now! Please contact the Conservation Department at 410-659-4274 or for an application packet.  The deadline for applications is March 15, 2013. 

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