Dolphin Doctor

Welcome to the Dolphin Doctor workshop! This project recognizes the lifetime work of Dr. Sam Ridgway, the original Dolphin Doctor and current President of the National Marine Mammal Foundation. “Dolphin Doctor: On the Front Lines of Marine Mammal Medicine” focuses on marine mammal veterinary medicine and how we use it to conserve species around the world.

We have many resources available to help you learn more about marine mammal medicine. If you prefer to work on your own time, you can access all the activities on this webpage. If you would like to schedule a live workshop, either virtual or in-person, we can schedule a workshop with one of our NMMF educators! Either way, we also have lots of complementary resources to help you learn more, including coloring pages, dolphin doctor workbooks, videos, and some fun crafts and games.

We have designed our workshops as patch programs. Please contact us if you would like us to send you some patches for students who have completed the program.

Workshop Resources

Dolphin Doctor Coloring Page - Ocean Ambassadors

Dolphin Doctor Coloring Sheet

Dolphin Doctor Coloring Sheet Grades: Pre-K- 5

Dolphin and Sea Lion Anatomy

Dolphin & Sea Lion Anatomy

Grades: Pre-K- 4th NGSS: 2-LS4-1.
Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Dolphin Medical Check-up Worksheet

Grades: 3-8 NGSS: 3-LS4-2.
Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.

Learn how dolphins produce sound

Dolphin Sound Production

Grades: 3-8 NGSS: 4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Sea Lion Paper Doll Craft

Sea Lion Paper Doll Craft

Grades: K-5 NGSS: 4-LS1-1.
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Dolphin Paper Doll Craft

Dolphin Paper Doll Craft

Grades: K-5 NGSS: 4-LS1-1.
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Analyze graphs related to dolphin populations trajectories

Learning To Analyze Graphs

Grades: 6-12 NGSS: HS-LS2-1.
Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.

Sound and Health

Did you know that we can learn a lot about how animals are feeling just by listening to them?

How do you sound when you have a runny nose? Or what noise might you make if you bumped your head? The NMMF Sound & Health team (link) has developed a software package that helps us identify sounds that dolphins make when they don’t feel good. You can find a link to an educational activity about Sound & Health on the San Diego Office of Education webpage (link).

Want to learn more about bioacousitics? Check out our Voices in the Sea workshop page for more fun interactive activities and worksheets about sound!

To start, in order to practice veterinary medicine (no matter what species), you must earn a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and licensure to diagnose and treat animals. This involves completing 4 years of an undergraduate degree, typically in biology, chemistry, animal science, nutrition, biochemistry, genetics, or molecular biology, and then completing another 4 years of veterinary school to earn your DVM degree. In veterinary school, coursework typically focuses on the biological sciences while also learning medical skills, nutrition, biological systems of a variety of different animals, as well as illnesses and injuries. To enter a career as a marine mammal veterinarian, there is unfortunately no straightforward path to get there. To start, no veterinary college has a marine & aquatic animal-focused veterinary medicine program, they most often focus primarily on cat, dog, horse, and cow. After veterinary school, however, there are a few options. You can continue with graduate work focusing on marine mammals or aquatic animals, or get an internship in small animal medicine or private practice for a few years before applying to aquatic medicine internships. If you are in middle-school or high-school, the best thing to do is start getting as much experience as you can along the way. This includes volunteering at the aquarium, rehabilitation centers, animal shelters, or research labs.

Interested in learning more? Check out these great books!

A look into wild dolphin health assessments