Massive dolphin pod swarms BRI scientists in the Santa Barbara Channel

Massive dolphin pod swarms BRI scientists in the Santa Barbara Channel

Last week, our team spotted a massive disturbance on the horizon heading towards their small vessel while collecting natural seep oil for laboratory experiments*. As the disturbance approached the scientists and grew, it resolved into dolphins – an unbelievably large pod of dolphins!  Hundreds and hundreds of dolphins swimming under and around the boat for nearly 10 minutes, stretching as far as the eye could see. BRI’s resident science border collie, Perla, kept busy barking at the dolphins to keep on moving west. Even after the dolphins were too distant to the west to see the dolphins, the water remained choppy. It was an incredible and rare experience.  

*Researchers were collecting oil (to be used in lab experiments) from the Coal Oil Point Seep field – one of the world’s most prolific seeps. The seep field, its ecosystem and geology, as well as many other phenomena are documented in our educational website www.SeepScience.com.