What is a stranding?

The traditional definition of a stranded marine mammal is one that “falters ashore ill, weak or simply lost” (Geraci and Lounsbury, 2005). However, as our understanding of marine mammals has increased, our definition of strandings has changed. Any marine mammal that is out of its natural habitat is considered to be stranded – this includes species such as whales and dolphins that may be found ashore or trapped in nearshore waters or estuaries and unable to return to their natural habitat on their own. The stranded animal could be in distress, dying, or dead. While the majority of the strandings involve one or two animals, occasionally, several animals may strand together (e.g., social species such as pilot whales) in a mass stranding event. While the overall response protocols for mass strandings are similar to single strandings, the personnel and resource investment is several magnitudes greater than in single strandings.




Woods Hole Open Access Server

This link takes you to the Marine Mammal Stranding Response repository on the Woods Hole Open Access Server (WHOAS). You will need to register on that site to download content and training materials that are housed there. This will be a one-time registration process.

Continue to the Woods Hole Open Access Server.