Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., is the Director of Research and co-founder of TerraMar Research. She is a behavioral and wildlife biologist who has been studying marine mammal behavior and communication for over 20 years. Dr. Frohoff has a doctorate in Behavioral Biology, an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, and a B.S. in Psychology. She specializes in behavior, stress and welfare in captive and free-ranging dolphins in response to human activity and has written numerous publications on this subject.She also lectures widely at venues ranging from The Smithsonian Institute, elementary schools to universities, and will speak at the prestigious TED Global Conference in Oxford, UK, in 2010.
Dr. Frohoff is an author and a researcher who works as a consultant to government and non-government agencies and organizations internationally. Most recently, she has initiated the first intensive study of the behavioral ecology of dolphins in the Santa Barbara region of California. This study is an important component of the newly formed Protect Our Dolphins (POD) an educational, scientific, and community based organization. She has founded the TerraMar Institute of Learning where students from near and far study new and emerging fields of science such as Trans-species Psychology and Ecology. Frohoff is also Research Director for the Whale Stewardship Project, where she studies free-ranging solitary beluga whales (with Cathy Kinsman) and solitary orcas who regularly interact with people; the first of their kind to be scientifically documented. She also continues her pioneering research on interactive programs with dolphins (such as “swim” programs) in both captivity and the wild. She is a Faculty Affiliate of the Kerulos Center where the new field of Trans-species psychology has developed and animal traumatology is extended beyond species lines and applied towards the recovery of individuals and populations. Her work for government and non-profit agencies has contributed to the revision and implementation of management and legislation protecting marine mammals in captivity and in the wild in almost a dozen countries. Frohoff lectures internationally and her research is frequently featured in popular and scientific books and journals and in the media (including being featured in a recent New York Times Magazine cover story, Santa Barbara Magazine, NPR, Smithsonian, Discovery Channel and Time magazines and Animal Planet and National Geographic television). With nature writer Brenda Peterson, she is co-editor of the anthology, Between Species: Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond (Sierra Club Books, 2003). Most recently with Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski, she co-authored the book, Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication (2008, Yale University Press). Dr. Frohoff’s research is unique in that she has studied the impacts of human interaction on cetaceans in so many different contexts; dolphins in captivity and in the wild, solitary dolphins and those in groups, various types of interactive programs, and a diversity of species. She conducted the first study of the behavior of captive dolphin behavior during a “swim-with-the-dolphins” program and later conducted the earliest comparison of these captive programs with ‘swim’ programs in the wild. Other previous research includes studying free-ranging, solitary, sociable bottlenose dolphin in Belize, the effects of boat and swimmer activities on free-ranging, sociable spotted dolphins in the Bahamas and spinner dolphins in Hawaii, and assessment of the behavior of captive dolphins in numerous public display facilities.
Frohoff has also served on a variety of boards, task forces, and committees, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Technical Consultant Group on Southern Sea Otter Recovery, Advisory Group for the Reintroduction of Keiko to the Wild, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Diversity Advisory Council, The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans L98 Scientific Panel, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Ballard Locks Pinniped-Fisheries Task Force, Board of Directors for the Marine Animal Resource Center and the Island Wildlife Rehabilitation Shelter, and the Mexican Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries’ Programa de Recuperacón de Especies Prioritarias and the Scientific Consultant Team for Fundación Promar, Costa Rica. Email Toni here.