On Sunday, July 16, 2017 we conducted our first marine mammal survey of the season! Our team observed and documented nine bottlenose dolphins feeding four miles offshore and 12 miles east of Shinnecock Inlet in Southampton. While on the water, we also collected floating marine debris. This included plastics and lots of mylar balloons. These light weight items totaled 6.92 pounds - that's a lot of potentially harmful items that could lead to marine animal injuries or deaths. The marine debris was collected in less than a half hour of effort.
Marine debris is an entirely preventable cause of marine mammal and sea turtle entanglements, injuries, and deaths. When these items enter the marine environment they have the potential to harm wildlife, such as the bottlenose dolphins observed during the survey.
Research is essential to our work. These surveys allow us to better understand the location and movements of these animals, as well as understand the environment in which they are living. All of the photos below were taken with research permit #20294.