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Understanding why dolphins visit the Chesapeake Bay

Dolphins are beautiful, enigmatic animals and one of the largest inhabitants of the Chesapeake Bay. But we know very little about them. When, where and why do they visit the Bay? We need your help to find out!

Dr. Helen Bailey and her team are working to answer these questions. Using underwater microphones, she can hear dolphins communicating with each other to determine where they find food and navigate. But she needs your help spotting dolphins in the Bay.

Calling all Citizen Scientists!

We now have a mobile app so you can let us know when you see a dolphin in the Bay. You can simply point to where you saw the dolphin or use your current location and tell us about how many you saw. 

Report and view sightings on our iPhone and Android Chesapeake DolphinWatch app.

A website version of our dolphin tracker is available at: chesapeakedolphinwatch.org

This tracker includes the ability to view the locations of recent and past dolphin sightings on a map and provides information about dolphins and the Chesapeake Bay. By tracking the occurrence of dolphins and their movements, we’ll gain a better understanding of how bottlenose dolphins use the Bay and how to protect them in our local waters.

How to use the Chesapeake DolphinWatch app

This tutorial video will guide you through the features of our app to view and report dolphins sightings, and learn more about dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay.

New in 2019! 2 years in to Chesapeake DolphinWatch, what have we learned?

Two years after launching the wildly popular app, Chesapeake DolphinWatch put together a brief summary of what we learned. Click here to view the 2-page summary.

Want to learn more?

DolphinWatchers can dive into a recording of Dr. Helen Bailey's Chesapeake DolphinWatch presentation as seen below. This seminar was given in October 2019 at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland as part of the OneNOAA Science Seminar series. The recording includes presentation slides, closed captioning, and Q&A from the audience.

Dr. Helen Bailey's Chesapeake DolphinWatch presentation

Make a donation to boost Bailey's research

You don't need to see dolphins to help Dr. Bailey with her research! Help with a donation. Your generosity can help us learn more about dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay by covering costs to maintain our dolphin sightings database and allowing us to buy additional underwater microphones that help us understand what dolphins are doing when they visit the Bay.

This is a program of the University System of Maryland Foundation. All gifts are tax-deductible to the extent of the law. No goods or services were exchanged for contributions made.

Thank you for your support!

Within the first month of the launch, more than 1,300 users registered to use the Chesapeake DolphinWatch app and reported roughly 700 sightings.

You can learn more about DolphinWatch and Dr. Bailey's research. Watch her presentation about DolphinWatch as part of Chesapeake Biological Laboratory's Science for Citizens series, and listen as Dr. Bailey discusses the first summer of the project.