Spinner Dolphins Surveyed at Pearl and Hermes Reef

Spinner dolphins are common in Hawaiian waters.

In September, 2008, staff of the Cetacean Research Program and other PIFSC scientists conducted photo-identification surveys of spinner dolphins living in waters around Pearl and Hermes Reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The purpose of the surveys was to identify individual spinner dolphins using this area. Individual dolphins can be identified on the basis of photographs that reveal distinctive nicks and notches in their dorsal fins. By comparing photos of dolphins taken around Pearl and Hermes Reef with those from other parts of the archipelago, cetacean scientists can assess spinner dolphin movements and population structure. Over a period of 9 days at Pearl and Hermes Reef, observers sighted 11 spinner dolphin groups and identified approximately 85 individual dolphins for comparison to the larger spinner dolphin catalog maintained by the Pacific Islands Photo-Identification Network (PIPIN).

For more information contact: Marie Chapla