Cover a Mile of Research
Cover 1 on-the-water mile with the Ocean Conservation Society research boat to study dolphins’ skin lesions and physical deformities (and implications for human health).

Ocean Conservation Society conducts scientific research and actively oriented educational programs aimed to protect dolphins and whales in their natural environment. One preliminary study published by OCS established that bottlenose dolphins off Southern California suffer skin lesions and physical deformities. These issues are related to environmental factors like sea temperature and salinity, but also to man-made pollutants in our waters. This concerns us because it has potential implications for human health. Bottlenose dolphins are apex predators vulnerable to man-made direct and indirect harmful threats. Coastal dolphins are particularly susceptible to dangers, as they inhabit regions where pollution is usually abundant. Regular monitoring and photo-identification of coastal and offshore populations of bottlenose dolphins off California, and comparison with other areas along the Pacific coast and worldwide, are now critical to: 1) shed light on the occurrence and frequency of these lesions and deformities, and 2) assess changes in skin lesion presence and extent over time at both the population and individual levels. Considering that bottlenose dolphins are also a key indicator of the health status of our waters, this study also aims to provide significant data to better understand the potential implications for human health. Each redemption provides the OCS research team to continue the monitoring of these charismatic and vulnerable animals by allowing our research boat to cover an additional mile at sea in coastal and pelagic areas frequented by bottlenose dolphins.