6:35 PM EDT, July 12, 2013
Dolphin sightings off Maryland's Atlantic beaches have rebounded after a dismal tally last summer.
Volunteers and staff of the National Aquarium spotted 113 of the marine mammals during their annual count Friday, up from just 31 seen this time last year. They tallied sightings for three hours at four spots along the coast - at Assateague State Park's day use area and in Ocean City at 40th, 81st and 130th streets.
Annual counts like Ocean City's provide marine mammal experts with snapshots of dolphin populations, as well as indications of reproduction rates and food abundance.
Aquarium staff attributed last year's lower than average count to factors such as the weather, bigger swells and food availability. In 2011, 107 dolphins were seen, which is considered relatively normal.
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