Toni Frohoffi, Ph.D.
Dr. Toni Frohoff, Director of Research, is a behavioral and wildlife biologist who has been studying marine mammal behavior and communication for over 20 years. She specializes in stress and welfare in captive and free-ranging dolphins in response to human activity and has written numerous publications on this subject. Frohoff has a doctorate in Behavioral Biology, an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, and a B.S. in Psychology. Currently, Frohoff is Research Director for both TerraMarResearch and the Whale Stewardship Project, where she studies free-ranging solitary beluga whales 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 has recently become a Faculty Affiliate of the Kerulos Centre 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 Smithsonian and Time magazines and Animal Planet and National Geographic television).Â 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).Â
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. She 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 FisheriesÂ’ Programa de Recuperac³n de Especies Prioritarias and the Scientific Consultant Team for FundaciÃ³n Promar, Costa Rica.