Our projects are led by a team of marine mammal researchers, all highly experienced in identifying and photographing cetaceans. Activities are authorized by permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

Our research vessel is a 22' Boston Whaler 

Harbor Porpoise under the Golden Gate Bridge

Bottlenose Dolphin spyhopping in Fort Point Cove, San Francisco

Minke whale surfacing

   Collaborating Organizations:

  • Romberg Tiburon Center
  • San Francisco State University
  • California Academy of Sciences 
  • Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary 
  • The Marine Mammal Center 
  • The Oceanic Society 
  • Minke Whale Foundation
  • Okeanis


For more information about current projects, click on the top menu to see the pages for these 3 species:

If you would like to report your cetacean sighting, click on our CONTACT US page.
Our Research Team


William Keener

Bill's experience includes work as a field observer (vessel-based transects, photo-documentation and data recording) for the harbor porpoise population study in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary conducted by Cascadia Research Collective from 1987-1989.  He is an environmental lawyer and the former Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of sick and injured pinnipeds, as well as the rescue of live stranded small cetaceans. 

Isidore Szczepaniak

Izzy has been studying the harbor porpoise population off the local coast for over 30 years.  His master’s thesis was on “Abundance, Dstribution, and Natural History of Harbor Porpoise in the Gulf of the Farallones.”  He has conducted research on humpback whales in California and Costa Rica, and on bottlenose dolphins in Belize. He has worked as a naturalist for the Oceanic Society since 1982 and teaches classes on marine mammals at San Francisco State University and the California Academy of Sciences.

Jonathan Stern, Ph.D.

Jon studies minke whales in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, and has conducted research on killer, pilot, fin, humpback and gray whales, as well as bottlenose dolphins. He served as the Conservation Chair for the National Board of Directors for the American Cetacean Society. He currently teaches in the Biology Department at San Francisco State University and is adjunct professor at Texas A&M University. An ecologist by training, he studies the role of marine predators in ocean ecosystems.

Marc Webber

Marc has studied small cetaceans including harbor porpoises (Gulf of the Farallones) and dusky dolphins (New Zealand), as well as pinnipeds, including Pacific walrus (Alaska) and Northern fur seal (Santa Barbara Channel Islands and St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs).  He has worked as an observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service on cetacean survey cruises in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and is the co-author of “Marine Mammals of the World: A Comprehensive Guide to their Identification (Academic Press, 2008).

Research Assistant:

Mary Jane Schramm is a whale watch naturalist and Media and Public Outreach Specialist for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.  During the Sanctuary’s Management Plan Revision process, she was NOAA lead for its Wildlife Disturbance Working Group.  She is a seasoned field observer, with experience on NOAA extended research cruises (marine mammals, seabirds and plankton), on Southeast Farallon Island (elephant seal reproductive success and intertidal monitoring), and on oil spill responses for the Cosco Busan, Puerto Rican, Cape Mohican and Exxon Valdez incidents.


  Field Studies of Porpoises, Dolphins & Whales
   in San Francisco Bay and on the Coast of Northern California

Golden Gate Cetacean Research is a nonprofit organization devoted to scientific research on local porpoises, dolphins and whales (collectively known as 'cetaceans')

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