Georgia Magazine - August 2013 - (Page 22)

Tracking the Bottlenose dolphins The Dolphin Project educates the public, monitors Georgia’s dolphin populations BY AMY L. SCHNEIDER THE DOLPHIN PROJECT THE DOLPHIN PROJECT A Above: Krystal Goodwin, a team leader and secretary for The Dolphin Project, surveys the coastal waterways for Bottlenose dolphins. Goodwin is also an assistant professor at Savannahbased Armstrong Atlantic State University. Inset: A volunteer survey crew pauses after a successful survey. They are, from left, Reed and Dolores Engle, of Savannah; Gayla Jones, of Richmond Hill; and George Manners, of Acworth. 22 lmost everyone loves dolphins. They are lively, entertaining and nearly as intelligent as humans, according to scientific studies. It is not surprising, then, that two catastrophic die-offs of thousands of Bottlenose dolphins along the Eastern Seaboard (estimated to be half of the population) in the late 1980s caused a deep and immediate reaction. While some government agencies and universities were conducting research in other areas along the Seaboard, there was no data on how many dolphins were living along the Georgia coast. Were the dolphins from that area, and, if so, did the number represent a large or small percentage of the total dolphin population? To begin gathering baseline data on the number of dolphins in the area, The Dolphin Project was formed in 1989 in Savannah. The all-volunteer organization’s original commission was to conduct a 10-year, photo-ID study of wild estuarine Bottlenose dolphins. At first, only a few dozen volunteers were involved. Since then, The Dolphin Project has grown, and, as it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2014, it now boasts nearly 300 volunteers. “We have members all over the United States and in Europe,” says Peach Hubbard, of Richmond Hill, president of The Dolphin Project and coordinator of the nonprofit’s Education Outreach Program, which operates statewide. “Most of our survey volunteers live in Georgia and South Carolina, although we have active volunteers from Michigan, Florida and North Carolina.” More online at GEORGIA MAGAZINE

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - August 2013

Georgia Magazine - August 2013
Georgia News
Picture This?
Liberty Notes
Calendar of Events
Sweet Success
Tracking the Bottlenose Dolphins
Saving Wilma; Dolphin Facts
Around Georgia
While Visiting Lake Oconee
My Georgia
Georgia Cooks
Second Helping: We All Scream for More Ice Cream!
More Snapshot Photos
Plant of the Month
August’s Online Trivia Contest
Georgia Grown Spotlight

Georgia Magazine - August 2013