The CZS-SDRP curates the Gulf of Mexico Dolphin Identification System (GoMDIS), which combines, standardizes, and serves as an online archive for dolphin ID catalogues from groups throughout the Gulf of Mexico — including Mexico and Cuba. This repository allows us to identify dolphins throughout the Gulf and discover changes in ranging patterns or even determine the origins of stranded dolphins. Automated fin-matching software helps us track dolphins across catalogs.
To create a dolphin record, we collect the best left and right fin images of each animal in our collaborators’ catalogs, along with the animal’s individual details (male, female, year of birth, if known, etc.) and sighting history. After we have processed the images and data, we can use it to search for animal matches between catalogs. Typically, we won’t know whether animals are “shared” — seen in more than one catalog — until we conduct a search for an individual.
GoMDIS data is held on the Ocean Biodiversity Information System server (OBIS-SEAMAP) and accessible to our contributors through their photo identification web-based platform. Catalog contributors must operate under a National Marine Fisheries Service Scientific Research Permit.
- 40 dolphin ID catalogs from research programs throughout the Gulf
- 24,524 individual animals
- 44,013 images
- 1,961 matches between catalogs are known to date