Many of us love dolphins, for their intelligence, their beauty, their sly ever-present "smiles." Renowned marine biologist Maddalena Bearzi loves these magnificent sea mammals, too, but on a much deeper level. For more than 20 years, she has studied them in California waters and throughout the world, developing a sincere appreciation for them, recognizing them as socially complex, highly intelligent and emotional beings -- and fellow creatures of the planet that needs protection.
With this evolving perspective, Bearzi, who grew up in Italy and now lives in Los Angeles, has seen her career develop from her earliest days as a young research scientist to her current stance as a fierce advocate for conservation and dolphin protection. She is president of the Ocean Conservation Society, which she co-founded in 1998; her latest book is "Dolphin Confidential -- Confessions of a Field Biologist." During a presentation Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Bearzi will share insights on dolphin behavior and critical environmental problems facing sea creatures (6 p.m. 595 Market St.; $20, $7 students; 415-597-6700, www.commonwealthclub.org).