Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The Virginia Institute of Marine Science/School of Marine Science is the marine mammal stranding coordinator for the state of Virginia. Its purpose is to collect data from strandings, conduct population estimates from local marine mammal fauna, and to provide rehabilitation efforts to live stranded marine mammals.

Thirteen marine mammals, including twelve cetaceans and one pinniped, have been reported stranded in Virginia since 1 January 1990. The strandings were comprised of six different species. The most reported stranded species has been Tursiops truncatus (6). Two marine mammals, a harbor porpoise Phocoena phocoena and a humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae, were stranded live. The harbor porpoise died during transport, while the humpback whale was euthanized. Most strandings occurred during May (6).

When possible dead animals are necropsied to identify causes of death. Also, stomach samples are taken to determine diet, and tissue samples (blubber, muscle, etc.) are taken for genetic assay and contaminant analysis.


Marine mammals -- Stranding -- Virginia, Marine mammals -- Food -- Virginia