Article: Brian Skerry’s dolphin images from National Geographic

Underwater photographer Brian Skerry’s work has been featured in the cover story of the May issue of National Geographic magazine. Entitled “Dolphin Intelligence: It’s time for a conversation”, the article is the first in a three part series. The article discusses attempts to understand dolphin vocalizations, why dolphins have such large brains and how they form allegiances and social structures.

Brian comments: “The story is about dolphin cognition. The last time NGM did a dolphin story was in 1992 (Flip Nicklin’s). For this piece I worked in 9 locations worldwide covering 5 species (bottlenose, dusky, spinner, spotted and orca) photographing ways that we can see that dolphins are smart. Six of the locations were in the wild and I focused on behaviors such as game play and feeding strategies. This is actually the first of a three story series in NGM about dolphins. The June issue will have a story about re-wilding dolphins. For this story I photograph Indo-Pacific dolphins that were released off South Korea after having been captive in the Seoul Zoo. The dolphins returned to their birth pod.

The article is available via the print edition of the National Geographic magazine, via their apps and online.

Brian’s work profusely illustrates the article, and we are grateful to him and to National Geographic for allowing us to reproduce some of the stunning images here:

© Brian Skerry/National Geographic; photograph produced under NMFS permit #17941. Spinner dolphins return from foraging to a bay off Oahu, Hawaii. Garrulous and gregarious, spinners gather in groups that can number in the thousands.

© Brian Skerry/National Geographic. Relative to body size, the brains of bottlenose dolphins, like these at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences in Honduras, are among the largest in the animal kingdom. Scientists are attempting to decode dolphins’ complex vocalizations.

© Brian Skerry/National Geographic.

© Brian Skerry/National Geographic. Dusky Dolphins in Patagonia (Argentina) use sound and communication to herd anchovies into tight bait balls to feed. Just one of the many unique feeding strategies dolphins have created to be effective where they live. A Magellanic penguin and shearwater join in the feast.

© Brian Skerry/National Geographic. Spotted Dolphins playing in the Bahamas.