Field Research Reports


We believe that effective environmentalism is reliant on scientific data. The conservation-based research that we fund and initiate around the world serves as a basis for creating and maintaining marine sanctuaries and recommending solutions to environmental problems. We work in partnership with local groups and agencies in the development of research goals and objectives.

Through our research we:

  • Identify critical environmental problems
  • Collaborate with universities
  • Conduct long-term field research
  • Provide professional training on a local level
  • Translate scientific findings into conservation policy proposals
  • Disseminate research results to local communities and conservation groups, and work with them to develop measures for protecting the environment.

Oceanic Society Sponsored Research 2008-Current

Conservation Research is conducted at two primary research sites:  Turneffe Atoll and Ulithi Atoll


Oceanic Society Sponsored Research 1995-2007


 Midway Atoll, National Wildlife Refuge, Hawaii. Since 1995 our research has focused on a group of resident Hawaiian spinner dolphins, to determine their reproductive rate, activity patterns, use of habitat, and social behavior.

Midway Atoll, National Wildlife Refuge, Hawaii. This project was a unique collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and focuses on monitoring the breeding biology of six of the seabirds that nest by the thousands on Midway - the Laysan and Black-footed Albatross, the Red-tailed, Brown and Black Noddies, and the White Terns.

 Monterey Bay, California. Monterey Bay represents a unique marine resource for cetaceans because of the deep water canyon close to shore along with a rich upwelling system off Point Año Nuevo just up-current to the north. We have focused primarily on monitoring populations of the humpback and killer whales that visit the bay on a seasonal basis - working in conjunction with other whale researchers to track movements of animals and population structures of these two species in the western Pacific Ocean.

Costa Rica. In collaboration with Cascadia Research, we have been surveying the waters off Costa Rica to look at numbers of whales and to obtain photographs of their flukes to compare with humpbacks throughout the north Pacific Ocean.

Grand Bahama. As the first Oceanic Society Research project, this study has now been tracking spotted dolphins for 14 years.

Galibi Reserve, Suriname. Sea turtles are threatened throughout the globe and the dramatic declines in leatherback populations in the Pacific suggest that the concern for their future is well-founded. Once a major nesting site for green, leatherback and olive ridley's sea turtles, sea turtles in Suriname face a variety of threats from predation and poaching of nests onshore, to fishing nets just off shore and out at sea.

Northern Peru is one of the few places on earth where large populations of two species of river dolphins still occur - the pink river dolphin or Boto and the much smaller Tucuxi. Our river dolphin work in the headwaters of the Amazon river was one of our longest running projects started in 1995 by the late Dr. Steven Leatherwood. It is focused on understanding the habitat requirements of the Boto and the Tucuxi in the enormous Pacaya Samiria reserve.

Belize Manatees & Dolphins. Among our goals in this research project is to highlight the importance and sensitivity of the dolphins and manatees in Turneffe and the Drowned Cayes in hopes of encouraging the future protection of this area as a marine reserve.

Belize Reef Monitoring. The coral reefs of the world are diverse and highly sensitive ecosystems that experience a variety of threats from human populations.

Monitoring Peruvian Guano Harvesting. The combination of the abundant seabirds, offshore islands, and a lack of precipitation means that these islands become mountains of seabird excrement or guano -- the world's best and most concentrated organic fertilizer. We monitored five islands to evaluate the impacts of the harvest, suggest options for reducing those impacts, and determine if the guano can be harvested in a manner that results in a substantial net benefit for the marine resources of Peru.

San Francisco Bay Whales - The recovery of the eastern Pacific gray whale is one of the great conservation success stories of the century. To better understand this change, we launched a long-term study to determine how many whales visit the bay each year, how long they stay here, whether they forage in the bay, and which areas of the bay are favored by the whales.

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