Maddalena Bearzi

Marine tourism is now considered a “new frontier of late-capitalist transformation”, producing more revenue than aquaculture and fisheries put together. For many coastal communities, this industry is becoming the most significant economic activity. Marine tourism spans from simple operations run by one or few people (charter fishing boat operators, sea kayak tour guides, scuba diving...

One of the questions I often get from students and lay people interested in dolphins, whales, and the oceans in general, is: “How do you come up with ideas for your research at sea?” Here is an excerpt from my latest book that can help answer this question… Dolphins may do amazing things or nothing...

What do predators do when the prey is too big to be swallowed whole? It really depends on the size, texture and shape of the targeted victim, but, generally speaking, it goes through some form of “processing” before being consumed. Different animals around the world have found clever, interesting and, at times, dangerous ways of...

By Maddalena Bearzi Although we live thousands of miles and an ocean apart, my brother Giovanni and I share not only the same bloodline but also a passion for dolphins. For more than two decades, both of us have conducted scientific and conservation research on marine mammals in the wild; Gio in the waters of...

By Maddalena Bearzi There is light at the end of the tunnel. As Tilikum, the captive killer whale at the focus of the documentary Blackfish, is approaching death from an untreatable drug-resistant lung infection, SeaWorld just announced it will end all orca breeding. No more orcas will be kept in any of their new parks...

By Maddalena Bearzi Have you ever wondered where dolphins go after you get a glimpse of them as they surf a wave or catch a bow-ride off your boat? I surely did. Bottlenose dolphins off California, one of the marine mammal species I’ve studied in this stretch of the Pacific Ocean for almost two decades...

A month ago, KPPC journalist Sanden Totten joined me on the Ocean Conservation Society boat during one of our regular marine mammal surveys that my research team and I conduct off Southern California. He wanted to discuss and observe first hand the increasing presence of skin lesions and physical deformities that are plaguing common bottlenose...

A Glance Into the Lives of our Ocean Friends All around me I see dolphins. I feel as though I could be part of a family, somehow different from my terrestrial one. At the bow of my boat, there’s a group of exuberant bottlenose teenagers playing amongst themselves. Some bear strings of kelp on the...

“Balloon straight ahead” one of my researchers tells the captain while leaning forward from the bow of our boat. We are so accustomed to find plastic debris during our dolphin surveys off Los Angeles, California, that a party balloon is the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when we come across something round-shaped floating...

Once again Sea World is missing the point. The aquatic entertainment enterprise just doesn’t seem to give up despite documentaries like Blackfish and a growing public awareness that keeping cetaceans in captivity is cruel and morally wrong. Even Wall Street is turning its back on the company. Now, with a new and grandiose multi-million dollar...

One day, my research team and I were following a school of bottlenose dolphins near shore as we do on a regular basis in the waters off Los Angeles, California. We just wrapped up our photo-identification work and were moving on to take video of dolphin social interactions and enter data on behavior. The dolphins...

The waters off Southern California have been the platform for my field research on whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals for almost two decades.  Lately, however, something has changed in the occurrence of these animals in my ocean “backyard.” I have never seen such a diversity and abundance of cetaceans as in recent times. In...

I have spent much time in the company of wild dolphins over the last twenty-something years. I’ve built a career following their everyday movements and observing their behavior both from shore and from research boats. When I began my studies, I knew these creatures primarily as the objects of my research but, as the years...