General Public

Here you will find some basic information on cetacean biology, the effect of the deepwater horizon oil spill on marine mammals, and what you can do if you find a stranded marine mammal.

The northern Gulf of Mexico is home to 22 species of marine mammals, including manatees in coastal seagrasses and dolphins and whales in estuarine, nearshore, and offshore habitats. At least 15 cetacean species were exposed to the DWH surface slick. Cetaceans that encountered the slick likely inhaled, aspirated, ingested, and/or adsorbed oil.

Dispatches from the Gulf

“Dispatches from the Gulf” is a multimedia initiative featuring documentaries, short videos, and podcasts. It examines the science, innovation, community, and recovery in the Gulf of Mexico in the years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The newest full-length documentary, Dispatches from the Gulf 2, features the latest research from CARMMHA consortium scientists on the effects of the spill on bottlenose dolphins.

What should I do if I find a stranded marine mammal?

Southeast U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343)

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NOAA Fisheries is responsible for conserving dolphins, whales, seals and sea lions in the United States. NOAA Fisheries Southeast Region includes North Carolina through Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NOAA Fisheries authorizes organizations and their volunteers, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, to respond to marine mammal strandings. These authorized organizations are the Southeast Region Stranding Network, and include trained responders and veterinarians who respond to and rehabilitate live stranded marine mammals and investigate dead stranded marine mammals. NOAA Fisheries and the Stranding Network coordinate responses to stranding events, monitor stranding rates, monitor human-caused mortalities, maintain a stranding database, and conduct investigations to determine the cause of unusual stranding events, such as mass strandings and mortalities.

If you see a dead, live stranded, or injured marine mammal in the Southeast U.S., immediately call the Southeast U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline: 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343). Once a stranded marine mammal is reported to the hotline, a trained network responder will arrive on scene to evaluate the situation. If the animal is alive, the animal’s health will be assessed by an authorized veterinarian. Based on the condition of the live animal, it will be released, taken to an authorized rehabilitation facility, or euthanized. In many cases, animals that strand are in poor condition and the most humane option to prevent suffering is euthanasia. If the stranded animal is dead, a necropsy (animal autopsy) will either be conducted on the beach or in a special necropsy lab. If the necropsy is conducted on the beach, the remains will either be buried or taken off-site. Even if the dead stranded marine mammal is decomposed, stranding network members can still collect data and samples to gain useful information.

for more info: Marine Mammal Stranding Response Program