News Splash™

Marine Life Studies - Our Work



Peggy Stap documents the appearance of a killer whale in Monterey Bay with photo-idMarine Life Studies is a nonprofit organization committed to protecting marine wildlife and preserving the health and beauty of our oceans now, and for the future, through education, research and environmental stewardship programs.


Environmental conservation depends on good research. Sharing the results of our research helps educate the public and creates awareness of the need to protect marine wildlife, especially from man-made disasters and pollution. The more we know, the better we can protect our precious oceans, and the whales, dolphins, birds and all life that depend on it. As we teach, we encourage a new generation of environmental stewards and research scientists.



Research Mission

The overall research mission of Marine Life Studies is to study the foraging strategies of transient and offshore killer whales as well as investigate the abundance, distribution, movement and frequency of occurrence of other whale and dolphin species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.


These activities take place under the General Authorization for Scientific Research, a permit issued by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service.


Volunteer Jenna records data and documents position of whale sighting in Monterey Bay.Good research is a collaborative process. Marine Life Studies is committed to sharing data with other researchers. Research results and data is disseminated in formal research reports and peer-reviewed publications. Whenever possible, we also stand ready to assist other researchers in conducting their research by making platforms available, providing information leads on cetacean activities, etc. as well as sharing our data with other scientists, governmental researchers, and students.


“Marine Life Studies Research Scientist Program gave me the opportunity to fully experience field work. This inspired me to return to school and pursue my dream of becoming a marine biologist.” 

Testimonial from Victoria Wade, University of California, Santa Cruz college student. Victoria graduated in the Spring of 2014.




Education Mission

Data collection is meaningless unless it is made available not only to the scientific community but also to the general public. This is particularly true in regard to information about whale and dolphin activity within a National Sanctuary. Marine Life Studies researchers develop and present public presentations concerning the status of their research on the whales and dolphins in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The research data is used to create educational programs and presentations.



Joey Jones Scholarship and Educational Fund

Joey Jones Scholarship and Educational Fund


Classes and educational programs are funded in part through the Marine Life Studies Joey Jones Scholarship and Educational Fund in honor of Moss Landing resident and commercial fisherman, Joey Jones, who lost his life at sea April 3, 2008.

Joey’s love of the sea and fishing was the inspiration for the scholarship. He wanted to bridge the gap between the marine science and commercial fishing communities through cooperation, dialogue, education and research. Learn more about Joey. 




Conservation Mission

Species cannot survive unless they have a safe place in which to live. A major threat to whales and dolphins throughout the world is the contamination of their habitats and other damaging effects of human's invasion into marine habitats. The Sanctuary and Marine Life Studies are committed to actively reducing contamination and dedicated to fostering a respect for the environment. To this end, Marine Life Studies Plastic Police initiative, Take It To The Streets™ community cleanup, is designed to address a huge worldwide problem of cigarette litter and single-use disposable plastics in our lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and oceans. Take It To The Streets™ is an inland clean up effort aimed to inspire the public to be active stewards of the environment and our precious oceans.


Other Marine Life Studies conservation activities of interest include marine mammal entanglement and stranding programs, public education concerning the health of the marine environment and actions necessary to enhance its good health, and in assisting other dedicated environmental groups in meeting their conservation objectives.




Whale Entanglement Team (WET)®


WET® is tasked with responding to whales entangled in fishing gear and marine debris. We are excited to announce that W.E.T. now has a designated toll-free number to call and a Marine Mammals in Distress Reporting Card printed on waterproof paper.


Entangled Whale Hotline:

(877) SOS WHALE (767-9425)


We are distributing the Response and Reporting Card to boaters in the Monterey Bay area. If interested in a water-proof card for your boat please contact us.


W.E.T. Handout for Response and Reporting Card



Download a pdf of the Response and Reporting Card.

  WET Handout for Response and Reporting Card here.







Marine Life Studies coordinated a hands-on water training for W.E.T. in December.

Cheryl McCormick, Executive Director of the American Cetacean Society (ACS), joined us.

The article about W.E.T. is now available on page 5. 

 PDF file 12 pages "Spyhopper, ACS Newsletter"