• They have a lot more to teach us.

    We've learned a lot with your help. But there's still so much we need to know to protect our wild dolphin neighbors.

    Give to dolphin research at the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

  • Sea Turtel sick and injured from fishing line

    You can stop this.

    Protecting marine wildlife is within your reach.

    When you give to put monofilament recycling bins within reach of conscientious boaters and anglers.

  • Harbor seal in need

    Save lives, reduce suffering, learn more.

    It's a win, win, win – when you support our Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

    Please give generously to the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

  • Cetacean Studies

    Inspire curiosity.

    What does it take to get students interested in science and conservation? Your help.

    Please give generously to support Cetacean Studies and the Bonehenge rearticulation project.

The importance of the Stranding Network

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Uncategorized

Samantha Emmert, a Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology undergraduate at the Duke Marine Lab, writes about the importance of supporting the North Carolina Central Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

http://sites.duke.edu/dukeresearch/2014/02/04/volunteer-network-shouldnt-be-stranded-and-dying/

“It is hard to say what will become of the NC Central Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network and others like it. Without renewed funding in the 2014 year, Vicky will be unable to continue the network and stranding response will stop in this area.”

This is a critical time for dolphins in the Atlantic. Every piece of information we can gather about increase in the mortality rate due to the morbillivirus is vital. Worried about the overall ecosystem? Worried about how it will influence fishing in the area? Just love dolphins and recognize that they are an integral part of what we all love about the North Carolina coast? You should her story here.

Tale of Two Teeth answer

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Uncategorized

Answer: Sperm whales are extremely sexually dimorphic – males grow much larger than females.

At 33.5’, a female sperm whale is near her full adult size, an old whale.

At 33.5’, a male sperm whale is a youngster, only approximately half his full size.

Therefore, the smaller tooth was from the male.  The female had the larger tooth because she was much older.  The photos below show the 2 whales from which the two teeth were taken.

tale teeth sperm whales

EVENT: We <3 Echo! Your chance to see a real whale heart.

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Uncategorized

Whales have big hearts.

No, really big hearts. Like, massive. And the actual heart that once belonged to Echo, the sperm whale skeleton hanging in the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC is being displayed at the museum for the very first time.

Is it squishy and gross?

No! It’s plastinated. They take the actual heart and replace the water and lipid tissues with curable polymers. Basically, the heart has been turned to plastic. As far as we know, it’s the first sperm whale heart to undergo the process.

“This is a one-of-a-kind specimen,” said Keith Rittmaster, the museum’s Natural Science Curator. “Dozens of talented and enthusiastic collaborators from various schools and laboratories conspired to preserve and study this sperm whale heart with the goal of returning it for display with Echo, at the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Beaufort.”

When and where can I see this cardiac curiosity?

North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort, NC

Thursday, Feb. 14 from noon to 1 p.m. (That’s one huge Valentine. Bring your sweetheart, point at the whale heart and tell your date, “this is how much I love you!”)

Saturday, Feb. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m.. Saturday’s event will offer heart science lectures, a comparative heart anatomy seminar, heart-healthy munchies and additional displays.

Go Deeper:

Click here for more information on this event!

Click here to learn more about Echo, the 33′ sperm whale skeleton on display in the museum.

Click here to read about Echo’s stranding from January 2004.

Stumpy the Right Whale is Being Installed in the NC Museum of Science

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Bonehenge; Cetacean rearticulation, Cetacean Studies, Education, Uncategorized

Keith Rittmaster, the leader of Cape Lookout Studies Program,was in Raleigh, NC last week working with Dan DenDanto and his Whales and Nails team installing a reassembled  52 foot right right whale in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. Good practice for the 34 foot sperm whale  that Keith  will soon install in the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC.
Un-posed above and posed below. Above, Keith is in the red t-shirt and below in the blue hard hat with the Whales and Nails team.
For more information. about the whale reassembly process in Maine.
And here for more on the installation work at the Museum of Science.
This will be an amazing educational display. Stumpy, and her calves, were right whales well known to researchers. She had migrated up and down the Atlantic Coast for years.She was found floating dead near the NC-VA border after being hit by a large ship. At the time of her death she was almost ready to deliver a male fetus. The fetus died. His skeleton will be displayed where she was carrying him at the time of their death. Her jaw was broken from the ship strike. Pieces of her jaw bone were used to research the damage from a ship strike at different ship speeds. This is valuable information that will help establish the speed that ships can safely travel in waters where these whales live and travel.

Beaufort NC Dolphins – Fabulous Photographs Showing Dorsal Fins, Xenobalanus and Action

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in bottlenose dolphin photo ID, Uncategorized

A fabulous collection of Keith Rittmaster’s photographs of our local Beaufort, NC dolphins. Notice the  differences in dorsal fins (the fin on the back). That is how we ID them and keep records of individual dolphins sometimes going back over 20 years. Notice in the upper right photo something hanging off the  top of the dorsal fin – like a decorative fringe or tassel. That is actually a barnacle called Xenobalanus that only seems to attach itself to whales and dolphins. We believe we will learn more about dolphin travels and activities once we know more about  Xenobalanus.          More information about this hitchhiker barnacle

Wildlife at Sea – Final Dispatch from Keith Aboard the Gordon Gunter NOAA Marine Mammal Assessment Cruise

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Uncategorized

Following are an incredible 3 posters taken by Keith and other scientists of wildlife they saw on their 6 weeks up and down  the north western Atlantic Coast aboard the Gordon Gunter for an annual Marine Mammal Assessment Cruise See link following for a picture of their route. http://spyhoplog.blogspot.com/
Remember, you can click on each ‘poster’ below to enlarge it !