Marine biologist and naturalist Dorris Welch, co-owner of Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching, dove into the natural history and adaptations of the marine mammals that frequent Monterey Bay, and discussed her encounters with the marine giants she has had in her eight years of leading whale watch tours on the bay and her prior research experiences as coordinator of marine mammal projects at Long Marine Lab, UCSC. Her talk was illustrated with amazing photographs, drone footage and hydrophone recordings of whales, dolphins and more.

Dorris has been a member of SCYC since she was a kid. She has owned Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching since 2010, leading educational whale watching tours on the bay daily. Prior she was curator of Marine Science at the Oakland Museum of California and Education Director of Long Marine Lab, UCSC for many years. Dorris learned to sail right here on Monterey Bay as a child and has been fascinated with the ocean and its inhabitants ever since. Dorris completed her graduate studies in marine biology and education at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She completed her undergraduate studies in Wildlife Biology at Humboldt State University in northern California where she developed her lifelong interest in both marine mammals and in birding. While a student at UCSC she worked at Long Marine Lab working with invertebrate research. She moved on to the marine mammal research realm and had the pleasure of working with dolphins, seals, sea lions and sea otters and the esteemed and beloved Dr. Kenneth Norris. She moved up to the education director position overseeing the aquarium, exhibits and all public programs. She has worked with dolphins, sea lions, seals, octopus, abalone and sea stars and spent plenty of time both on and in the water, in research vessels, kayaks and scuba gear. She learned to dive while working at Point Lobos State Reserve logging many hours underwater as well as ashore interpreting the delights of our coastline to visitors. She especially loves sharing her knowledge and experiences with others and helping others to see the natural world with a new sense of wonder. She has led natural history tours throughout California and beyond and is the author of several publications on California natural history and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.