Welcome to NMMF's Dolphin Doctor Course!

Welcome to the National Marine Mammal Foundation's Dolphin Doctor Course!

In this course, we will talk about the work of the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF), including its support of the mission of the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program. In addition, we will dive into what makes marine mammals, specifically dolphins and sea lions, so unique – from their incredible adaptations to their unique anatomy and physiology! We will introduce you to the research being conducted by the NMMF and give you a sneak peek into the world of marine mammal medicine.

INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the video for each section, then read through the written course content. Optional worksheets and activities are provided for each section. The course ends with a short quiz. Once you pass the course, you will have the opportunity to download and print a certificate of completion! This course was designed with ages middle school and up.

Course Lessons

About NMMF

We pride ourselves on being world leaders in marine mammal health, and our vision is to be the leading laboratory in marine mammal science. With our unparalleled team of experts, we help answer critical questions about marine mammal health, welfare, and conservation. We are scientists, veterinarians, marine mammal experts, engineers, and mathematicians who are making valuable contributions, both locally and globally, through science and education. Our decades of service and experience allow us to partner with leaders in the scientific community to conduct high-priority investigations into marine mammal acoustics, conservation, and medicine.


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Gulland, F. M., Dierauf, L., & Whitman, K.L.(Eds.). (2018). CRC handbook of marine mammal medicine: health, disease, and rehabilitation, Third Edition. CRC press.

Lyamin, O. I., Manger, P. R., Ridgway, S. H., Mukhametov, L. M., & Siegel, J. M. (2008). Cetacean sleep: an unusual form of mammalian sleep. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(8), 1451-1484.

Ridgway, S. H., Carder, D. A., & Clark, W. I. L. L. I. A. M. (1975). Conditioned bradycardia in the sea lion Zalophus californianus. Nature, 256(5512), 37-38.

NOAA. 2013-2016 California Sea Lion Unusual Mortality Event in California. Retrieved from: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2013-2016-california-sea-lion-unusual-mortality-event-california

NOAA. California Sea Lion. Webpage. Retrieved from https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/california-sea-lion

NOAA. Common Bottlenose Dolphin. Webpage. Retrieved from https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/common-bottlenose-dolphin

Lyamin, O. I., & Siegel, J. M. (2019). Sleep in aquatic mammals. In Handbook of behavioral neuroscience (Vol. 30, pp. 375-393). Elsevier.