Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are recent visitors to San Francisco Bay. The northern limit of their regular range is currently the Pacific coast off San Francisco, but they occasionally enter the Bay. They are sometimes seen swimming and foraging for fish in Fort Point Cove, just east of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We are conducting a multi-year assessment to document this species local abundance and distribution, as well as to examine site fidelity and habitat use. Prior to the severe El Nino that brought warm water to California in 1982-83, bottlenose dolphins were primarily residents along the Southern California shore. When water temperatures returned to normal, some of the dolphins stayed north, expanding the species' range.
We are working in collaboration with a marine mammal research group in Monterey Bay, Okeanis, to compare its dolphin observations with ours. Based on photographs of individuals, many of the animals we see in San Francisco Bay have also been sighted in Monterey.
This research is authorized by a Letter of Confirmation issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Project Leader: Izzy Szczepaniak
Dolphin with paddle boarder in San Francisco Bay
Dolphins near fishing pier at Crissy Field, San Francisco
GOLDEN GATE CETACEAN RESEARCH
Field Studies of Porpoises, Dolphins & Whales
in San Francisco Bay and on the Coast of Northern California