Many of us walk along Brighton seafront gazing out at the beautiful ocean, but what actually lives beneath the waves?
From the surface, the answer may appear to be ‘not much’ but as this video shows, looks can be deceiving…
This pod of bottlenose dolphins was seen just a mile off Shoreham Port by Brighton Fish Sales on 26/05/2020 (courtesy of Brighton Dolphin Project), and it’s not only bottlenose dolphins that visit Sussex seas…
We are lucky enough to have six species of marine mammal living in Sussex! They include: bottlenose, white-beaked and common dolphins, harbour porpoises, grey seals and harbour seals.
That’s where Brighton Dolphin Project come in. The Sussex coastline is the most poorly researched area for marine mammals. Their mission is to tell the world about the dolphins of Sussex, research these wonderful cetaceans and find out just how many are Brighton residents.
To find out where the dolphins are, and how they are behaving, Brighton Dolphin Project needs people to get involved and send in their sightings as part of a huge citizen science project.
“we ask people to report any sightings and tell us about their experience. To date we have over 200 sightings of marine mammals recorded and these are only the sightings that have been sent into us!”
The future for Brighton Dolphin Project
The future is looking bright for Brighton Dolphin Project. The project is growing larger and they are in the process of moving into exciting new premises at Shoreham Port. They are hoping to gather more data too – the more data they have, the more likely they are to be able to protect dolphins in Sussex.
You can help Brighton Dolphin Project by…
Keeping your eyes peeled for any marine mammals in Sussex. Use their Research Leaflet to help you collect data and aid your spotting
Following them on Instagram @brightondolphinproject
Making sure you take your litter with you when you visit beaches so our marine life doesn’t get tangled up
The grey seal is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae, which are commonly referred to as “true seals” or “earless seals”. In the UK average weights are 233 kg (514 lb) for males and 154.6 kg (341 lb) for females with Bulls reaching 1.95–2.3 m (6 ft 5 in–7 ft 7 in) and cows typically 1.6–1.95 m (5 ft 3 in–6 ft 5 in) long.
Did you know?
Grey seals can stay underwater for up to 16 minutes, diving as deep as 300 meters, but usually diving to around 70 meters
The harbour seal, also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of Pinniped (walruses, eared seals, and true seals), they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic, Pacific, Baltic and North Seas.
An adult can attain a length of 1.85 m (6.1 ft) and weight up to 168 kg (370 lb).
Did you know?
Harbour seals can dive deeper than their Grey cousins, diving to 427 meters and staying underwater for almost 30 minutes. However, the average dive is usually a few minutes, going down to 90 meters. They also like to observe humans walking on beaches from the safety of the water, but are wary of humans on land and will rush to the sea if disturbed.
The Harbour porpoise is one of seven species of porpoise. As its name implies, it stays close to coastal areas or river estuaries. This porpoise often ventures up rivers and has been seen hundreds of miles from the sea. It is one of the smallest marine mammals. Adults grow to 1.4 to 1.9 m (4.6 to 6.2 ft)
Did you know?
The name “porpoise” comes from the Latin for pig (porch). Harbour porpoises are therefore sometimes called “puffing pigs”, due to the sound they make as they breathe. Interestingly, when surfacing for air, these porpoises do not splash; instead they roll from their beak to their fluke and arch their back.
The Common Dolphin is the most abundant cetacean in the world, with a global population of about six million. Adults range between 1.9 and 2.5 m (6.2 and 8.2 ft) long, and can weigh between 80–235 kg (176–518 lb).
Did you know?
Common Dolphins are one of the only tricolour dolphins – grey, white and yellow in a distinctive hourglass pattern.
Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide, being found everywhere except for the Arctic and Antarctic Circle regions. Their name derives from the Latin tursio (dolphin) and truncatus for their characteristic truncated teeth. Adults weigh an average of 300 kg (660 pounds) and can reach a length of just over 4 meters (13 feet).
Did you know?
Bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds over 30km per hour and dive as deep as 250m below the surface.
The Sussex Coastline is home to an abundance of marine wildlife including six species of marine mammals! The team at Brighton Dolphin Project gives us top tips on the mammals we should keep an eye out for.
In Sussex, we are lucky enough to have not one not two, but three species of Dolphin that are regularly spotted in our waters!Bottlenose Dolphins that are here year round and regular visitors in the form of Common Dolphins and White-beaked Dolphins.
The world’s smallest marine mammal
Our coastline is also home to one of the smallest marine mammals, the Harbour Porpoise. We also have two seal species; the grey seal and the Harbour (or Common) Seal. Click on each species to find out more.
The grey seal is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the ... Read More
Brighton Dolphin Project research and study these Marine mammals. Part of our work is based on recording sightings, where we ask people to report any sightings and tell us about their experience. Here are a few of the most recent and exciting sightings! Find out how far we come with our project and how you can get involved here.