• 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.

Lethargic Dolphin Nov. 2015

Written by Tursiops. Posted in bottlenose dolphin photo ID, Cetacean Studies, Uncategorized

In August, 2015, during a routine atlantic bottlenose dolphin photo-ID survey, Keith Rittmaster and Josh Summers of nc maritime museum / cape lookout studies encountered a dolphin intermittently rafting lazily at the surface in Back Sound. It appeared to be an unusual behavior but we could not determine a problem so we photographed the bottlenose dolphin and continued on. It was subsequently reported by boaters in the same area in August because the behavior was conspicuous.

Then in early November, 2015 we received multiple reports of a tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin) “disabled”, “dying”, “with a shredded tail”, and ultimately the last report (as of this writing) on November 5th, 2015 was that it was “dead floating upright” in Beaufort Inlet. Dead dolphins don’t float upright and we found what was reported as “dead” on November 5th very much alive, and its behavior recalled our August encounter in Back Sound. But again, not being able to determine a problem, we took photographs and moved on.

Subsequent examination of photos from the 2 encounters confirmed our suspicion that the dolphin we saw Nov. 5th in Beaufort Inlet was the same individual as the one we saw in Back Sound in August. Also evident in the dolphin identification image above [or below?] is 1) it appeared skinnier in November, 2) the injury on its left side in August has healed, and 3) it had fewer Xenobalanus barnacles on its dorsal fin in November. What was reported as a “shredded tail” was actually barnacles on the trailing edge of its tail (see photo).lethargic-dolphin-web-credit Tt-Xeno-flukes-web-credit

Nov. 11, 2015 Dolphin Photo ID

Written by Tursiops. Posted in bottlenose dolphin photo ID, Cape Lookout Studies Program

 

IMG_5527-web-with-credit

Beautiful weather allowed us to go out today on our cape lookout studies program boat “Spyhop” and do our usual bottlenose dolphin survey and photo ID.  Just a few minutes after leaving the Gallant’s channel dock we encountered our first group of approx. 15 animals in the estuary. We recognized a few of our winter “regulars”, among them at least 3-4 mother/calf pairs. The next group was spotted in the ocean off the west end of Shackleford, including freeze brand (FB) #402. Freeze brand animals have been previously captured and marked with numbers to help with dolphin research and identification. A lot can be learned from the sightings of these animals. The third group we saw was fairly large, but due to deteriorating weather conditions we decided not to attempt photos. Inside Cape Lookout Bight we saw a single bottlenose dolphin and surprisingly (for this time of year) several sea turtles, one identified as a large Loggerhead. We had hoped for another sighting of the humpback whale repeatedly seen in the area over the last few weeks, and last photographed by us on Nov. 5, 2015.

Here are today’s “best of” bottlenose dolphin dorsal fin photos:

bottlenose dolphin fin photos

2014 Thank you donors, volunteers, contributors and collaborators

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Thank You / Volunteer

Listed below are individuals/groups whose generosity helped sustain the Cape Lookout Studies Program in 2014 by providing:

Cleaning supplies, office supplies, photo paper, printer/copier, printer ink, batteries, plane tickets, shade canopy, stainless hardware, surgical gloves, lumber, band saw, drill bits, orbital sander, sand paper, vacuum cleaner, food, drinks, notebooks, XM Radio subscription, web hosting fees, web site maintenance, $4,399 in cash donations/grants and approximately 1,292 hours of volunteer time.  THANK YOU!!

Sincere thanks also go out to everyone who has an NC “Protect Wild Dolphins” special license plates which raised for Friends of the Museum a total of $10,120 in 2014.   The dolphins thank you too.

Bud Doughton

Al Fitz

Anonymous

Blake Dodge

Bobbi Wallinger

Carl Spangler

Carolina Cay Maritime Found.

Carteret Animal Hospital

Dennis Sorensen

Duke Coastal Society

Durham Academy

Elena Kovalik

Elizabeth Hanrahan

John Stanton

Friends of the Hammocks

Friends of the Museum

Harriett Watkins

Historical Soc. of Topsail Isl.

Hope Longest

Howard Lineberger

John Fussell

John Russell

Josh Summers

Keith Rittmaster

Kim Merrels

Lookout Foundation

Lora/Vic Fasolino

Mackenzie Russell

Mallory Lowe

Matty Jackman

Mary & Haywood Holderness

Mary Hunnings

Nelson Owens

Patti Owens

Paul Nader

Paula Dailey

“Protect Wild Dolphins” license plates

Regina & Bruce McCutcheon

Rich Shapiro

Rob Gourley

Sinbad

Steve Hassenfelt

Suzanne & Vance Knight

Ted Phillips

Todd Sturgell

Verena Lawaetz

Vicky Thayer

Wendy Donaldson

Click here to visit our Thank You page – dedicated to the supporters, volunteers, backers and collaborators of the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

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

Tale of Two Teeth quiz

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Cetacean Studies

Here’s a quiz:  The two teeth in the picture below are from two different 33.5’ sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that stranded in North Carolina.  Both teeth are a #10 (10th from the front) tooth from the lower jaw.  Why do you think there’s such a size difference between the Pm 33.5 teeth M&Ftwo teeth?  Check back tomorrow for a hint.

Field Guides & Turtle Watch

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Just a few of our collaborators

Here's a random selection from our collaborating partners. Visit the About Us page to see them all.