Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation

Brunswick, Maine, United States
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CCRC raises public awareness of marine conservation issues, especially those concerning cetaceans.


I. For the past two decades, CCRC educators have informed, involved, and inspired people about whales and dolphins and the marine ecosystems they inhabit. Interactive educational presentations are tailored to groups of various ages and experience. Outreach Programs reach a wide range of community groups. Curriculum Enrichment Programs educate and involve students ranging from kindergarten to graduate school. Programs combine slides, acoustics, video, and hands-on experience. Outreach Programs are offered throughout New England, New Zealand, Australia, across Oceania and elsewhere as our schedule allow. See Cook Islands Humpback Survey for an example. 

II. CCRC offers firsthand experience in cetacean research and conservation through internships and volunteer opportunities. CCRC’s researchers have engaged numerous volunteers and interns over the past 26 years in the day-to-day operation of Dolphin Outreach, and research projects around the world, a reciprocally beneficial arrangement that is integral to CCRC’s operation. 
III. CCRC publishes its findings in both professional and popular formats through various media. Contributions vary from scientific to anecdotal and appear in publications ranging from peer-reviewed journals to mainstream magazines. CCRC also generates news stories for the internet, television, print and radio broadcast. CCRC contributes cetacean content and imagery to several prominent websites, television stations, news broadcasters and film companies. 
IV. CCRC produces educational documentary films for television, conveying marine conservation issues and information to broader audiences with documentary films. Over the past two decades, CCRC has contributed to numerous natural history documentaries which have been broadcast on major networks. CCRC is currently the focus of a television documentary on the intelligence of whales. 
“There are no boundaries in the oceans as whales swim from one island nation to another. It is true for the people also. We inspire and empower each other. It is with kindness and gratitude that we study and protect the largest animal in the world, living in the largest ecosystem in the world … our ancient Ocean. Throughout these islands we have strong evidence of diversity and abundance of sea life. Through story telling, video, education, television documentaries, cutting edge scientific research, local knowledge and endless motivation, we encourage others to be respectful and appreciative of the environment. It works. We plant the seeds of “curiosity”. Nature thrives when we become responsible and dedicated environmentalists.” 
- Nan Hauser 


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The conservation status and biology of most cetaceans is poorly understood. Many cetacean populations are threatened; quite a few are endangered; all are susceptible to humankind’s interference with marine ecosystems. Multidisciplinary scientific research is needed to develop appropriate conservation strategies. CCRC has undertaken studies on the biology, behavior, and ecology of a variety of cetaceans.

In 1996, CCRC researchers began documenting populations of bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, and dense-beaked whales in the Bahamas. CCRC efforts over the past eight seasons have revealed a novel feeding technique by bottlenose dolphins, the first underwater footage of beaked whales and underwater footage of a sperm whale with a broken jaw.

In 1998, CCRC initiated Cook Islands Humpback Whale Survey, a long-term study of the depleted yet unstudied humpback whales of the central South Pacific. This study focuses on humpbacks while they are in the waters of the Cook Islands, a chain of 15 islands in the central tropical South Pacific. Humpbacks frequent the Cook Islands during the austral winter, to breed and calve. The Cook Islands offer an unprecedented opportunity to study the status and population identity of humpback whales in the central South Pacific, information vital for developing appropriate conservation measures for this endangered species.