Behavior and Distribution of Marine Mammals in Southern California

Caillie Roach_headshot 200x200.jpeg

Caillie Roach '21

Abigail Hentschke '22

Josiah Lauer '21


Our project is concerned with the anthropogenic forces impacting the marine life in the Southern California Bight. We can understand the impacts through distribution patterns, population status, and human impacts. Data was collected at Dana Point, CA where due to the continental shelf, there is an upwelling resulting in high biodiversity. Marine mammals studied includes several species of dolphins, whales, and pinnipeds. We use the Flukebook program to re-identify individuals and track their location over the course of several years. GIS is also used to understand the relationship between marine mammals and boat presence. Lastly, we observed the impact of boat traffic on the behavior of California sea lions by comparing transitions between behavioral states.