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Home > Academics > Academic Divisions > Mathematics & Sciences > Marine Science > Coastal Dolphin Survey Project

Coastal Dolphin Survey Project

​​The Coastal Dolphin Survey Project (CDSP) was organized and initiated at the Marine Science Department of Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, California in 1978.

Bottlenose Dolphin Characteristics of the bottlenose dolphin (focus of this research effort)
Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) average 0.9 to 1.2 meters at birth and weight only 8 - 9 kilograms.  For adults, the maximum length reported is 3.9 meters with a maximum weight of 275 kilograms.  Male bottlenose dolphin reach sexual maturity at 10 - 12 years, females between 5 - 12 years.  Once reproductively active, females bear a single calf every second or third year.  Gestation is about 12 months.  Calves are nursed for a year or more. The maximum lifespan of bottlenose dolphins appears to be between 46 and 48 years based on tooth "growth layer group" analysis - both from wild and captive dolphin studies.  This species appears to be "catholic" in their feeding habits, taking a wide variety of fish and invertebrates (based primarily on what is available.   Adult bottlenose dolphin eat between 6 - 8 kilograms of food each day.  The behavior of these dolphins, both during the day and at night, is very similar.  They travel the coast both north and south.
Objectives and goals of the Coastal Dolphin Survey Project (CDSP)
The objectives of CDSP include:
  1. Through research determine the population dynamics, biology, and ecology of the coastal bottlenose dolphin population of Orange County, California.
  2. Educate students of Orange Coast College about research methods, design, and operation.  Involve these students in the dolphin research effort.
  3. Utilize the knowledge gained from both of the previous objectives to educate and  inform the human population of Orange County with regard to dolphin biology.