Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research, established in November 2008, is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization engaged in a long-term photo-identification study of bottlenose dolphins in the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Our mission is to promote the conservation of bottlenose dolphins in the northern Outer Banks through research and education. We seek to learn more about the population ecology, movement patterns, health, and behavior of coastal bottlenose dolphins and to expand public knowledge and concern for these marine mammals.

Our scientists also collaborate with other marine mammal scientists along the western Atlantic coast in order to further understand their long-range movement patterns.



The 11th Annual Outer Banks Shrimp Cookoff will be a Shrimp Crawl! 2020 has been a very different year, so we will be different too! The Outer Banks Shrimp Crawl will be held over the weekend of November 7th and 8th, 2020 throughout the Outer Banks to benefit the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research! Local chefs will compete to prepare the best shrimp dish appetizer. Take the weekend to visit up to 5 restaurants and vote for your favorite shrimp!  The event will also featured a virtual silent auction with donations from local businesses. Tickets are $25 available online. Check out blog at obshrimp.com for updates on this event!

We are excited to announce that a new children’s book is now available about the life of Onion and the Outer Banks dolphins! Onion, A North Carolina dolphin follows the life of Onion in the Outer Banks. Written by Jessica Taylor of OBXCDR and illustrated by Nan Bowles of the NC Maritime Museum, this story is based upon real sightings of North Carolina dolphins! To learn more and purchase your copy online, click here!

Looking for the perfect gift for this spring? Check out our Adopt a Dolphin Program! All adoptions come with a personalized adoption certificate, dolphin fact sheet, OBXCDR t-shirt and bumper sticker, and email updates on your dolphin! Click here for more details!

We are excited to announce a new dolphin outreach display at Jennette’s Pier! This display is a collaboration between the OBXCDR, Jennette’s Pier, North Carolina Maritime Museum, and NC Marine Mammal Stranding Response Team, and includes the rearticulated skeleton of one of our long-time known males, Moe. Funding for this display was provided by the NC Aquarium Society and the Outer Banks Community Foundation! For more details about the display, click here! Moe’s homecoming was held on Sunday March 24th at 2:00 pm! Visit Moe at Jennette’s Pier and learn more about local dolphin research, how the display was developed, and ways to contribute to local conservation. Presentations were given by Keith Rittmaster, natural science curator of the North Carolina Maritime Museum, Jessica Taylor (pictured), director of the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research and Rachel Potts, stranding response coordinator for Jennette’s Pier. The event also featured door prizes and refreshments.

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research would like to announce a new partnership opportunity with Dare Education Foundation, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke IslandJennette’s Pier, and Dare County Schools! This winter, educators of the OBXCDR, NC Aquarium, and Jennette’s Pier will be leading programs for biology students at Manteo High School and Cape Hatteras Secondary School to teach about real life applications of gel electrophoresis and mapping, using sighting data collected on our local dolphins! Thank you DEF for providing the funding for these programs!

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research is excited to announce that we have recently received a grant from the Currituck-Dare Foundation of the North Carolina Community Foundation to fund our field research surveys for next season! Aboard our surveys, we will also conduct live streams of our dolphin sightings for local Dare County Schools students to teach students about how we study the dolphins and complement classroom activities related to dolphin biology and conservation! We are excited about this grant and opportunity to collaborate with the local schools!

Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research t-shirts are now updated and available online! Click here to purchase!

We are so excited to announce that the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research recently received a grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation to assist in funding our 2018 field surveys and an educational display for dolphin conservation at Jennette’s Pier! Being able to complete additional surveys this year will aid in our understanding of the dolphin population in the sounds surrounding the Outer Banks. The educational display will accompany the skeletal display of our longtime dolphin friend, “Moe,” who for years visited Roanoke Sound with his best friend, “Bud.” He passed away two years ago but was recovered by the stranding response team in Beaufort. His skeleton is currently being prepared for display by the North Carolina Maritime Museum. “Moe” will be coming “home” to the OBX early next year! Stay tuned for updates on our field season and more about “Moe!”

Interested in volunteering with the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research? We are currently seeking volunteers! Click here for more information!

In summer 2013, coastal bottlenose dolphins along the U.S. east coast experienced an unusual mortality event where record numbers of dolphins stranded along the beaches. The event reached the Outer Banks, NC in August 2013. For more information about these strandings, click here. The Outer Banks Marine Mammal Stranding Response Team responds to marine mammals strandings from Currituck County, NC south through Hyde County, NC. For more information on how to report a marine mammal stranding in the Outer Banks, click here.

Looking to learn more about dolphins in the Outer Banks? Join us on FaceBook at Onion, A North Carolina Dolphin and Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research as well as on Instagram at obxdolphins for updates on the Outer Banks dolphins this summer!