Welcome to the Georgia Dolphin Ecology Program (GDEP) blog!
As a research team devoted to the study of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), we spend countless hours on the water each year watching for dolphin fins to emerge.
Our surveys take us along the central Georgia coast from St. Catherine’s Sound to Doboy Sound, and we are treated to the natural beauty the Georgia coast offers. The idyllic settings in which we conduct our research provide ample inspiration to fuel team members’ interest in coastal ecology. We, however, also remain aware of the toll that development, industry, and other anthropogenic and natural stressors take on the surrounding environment. As such, our blog will reflect both our celebration of wide-ranging species and ecosystems, and our concern for threats that the environment faces.
Our study species is the common bottlenose dolphin, but we recognize that just as no man is an island, no dolphin is either. The ecosystems in which we conduct our research are intricate, and all biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) inputs to this system impact the organisms that share this space. Just as physical inputs become part of this ecosystem, so do the decisions that we make regarding an ecosystem’s management and treatment. Marine and coastal policy become part of an environment, as do our recreational and cultural uses of natural resources.
This blog is about dolphins, but it is also about much more than dolphins. The ecosystem in which we work is, literally and figuratively, a fluid one; a variety of factors impact its health. We will explore topics such as endangered species, marine debris, ecotoxicology, and coastal policy. We will also share highlights from our ongoing research and explain its importance in the broader framework of marine mammal research.
Above all, we will offer objective information grounded in science to be consumed by scientists and interested citizens alike. We hope our stories will speak to you as they have spoken to us. We encourage you to comment, like, and share anything that resonates with you.
Thanks for diving in with us!
Above: A curious dolphin pays us a visit during a survey.
Photo credit, John Schacke