The Chesapeake Bay has dolphins swimming through even during years when times were tough for crabs and oysters. But this year, there seems to be more dolphins than anyone can remember, and over a greater expanse of the bay.

“Lots of dolphin sighting by the Bay Bridge,” according to UMCES.

Dolphins have spotted in more than 170 locations, in big and small pods (groups).

Chesapeake Bay dolphin sightings map

Chesapeake Bay map of dolphins reported, maintainly in the central and lower bay. (Courtesy UMCES)

Dr. Helen Bailey and her team at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science  think dolphin numbers are up in the bay, but they want to be scientific about it. They’ve created an app for people to report sightings.

“We know very little about them,” says UMCES DolphinWatch. “When, where and why do they visit the Bay? We need your help to find out!”

Dolphins in Potomac River

Dolphins swimming in the Potomac River (courtesy DolphinWatch Instagram)

UMCES is also looking for money to maintain the new database and $2,000 to buy a device to listen for dolphin sounds.

Donate to the project today! Specify “DolphinWatch” with your donation.

Here’s a presentation with Dr. Bailey about their efforts to track dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay.

DolphinWatch was launched the beginning of July and they’re looking for reports on and photos for their Instagram and Facebook accounts.

It’s usually be bottlenose dolphins, which can be 300-1,200 pounds  and 9 to 12 feet in length when they’re adults. They swing through the bay during the summer, and there have been reports of dolphins leaping in the air or bow-riding boats. They feed on a variety of prey, including fish and squid.