The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program:
Our Approach to Helping Dolphins

We conduct the longest-running study of a wild dolphin population in the world and have been learning about the daily lives and threats to the dolphins of Sarasota Bay, Florida, since our program began in October 1970.

Today, we share our knowledge through national and international collaborations designed to help conserve wild dolphin populations — not just in Florida and in the U.S., but throughout the world.

Our goal with every research and conservation project that we undertake locally, nationally and internationally is to contribute to a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of dolphin, whale, and porpoise populations, as well as the natural and human-induced factors that impact them.




We’ve documented six generations of dolphins in Sarasota Bay, including the oldest-known wild dolphin in the world. Nicklo lived to age 67.

50-plus years of study has given us an unparalleled window into the world of wild dolphins. Our home base, Sarasota Bay, Florida, is a unique natural laboratory where we have spent a half-century studying their lives — we know their lineages, their companions, their favorite hangouts and even their eating habits. We’ve borne witness to hundreds of dolphin births and been there to learn what we could from dolphin deaths.

These coastal dolphins are a permanent community — our neighbors — whose lives are helping us to understand dolphin populations throughout the world.


As top predators in their environments, dolphins face few natural threats. But locally and worldwide, they face numerous threats from anthropogenic — human induced — causes. One part of our mission is to help educate people like you on how you can help keep wild dolphins safe.



  • Conservation or Research Project
  • Graduate Student Theses
  • Consulting/Advising 
  • Dolphin Tracking


Nicks 'n' Notches is the annual report of the activities of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Download a PDF of the latest edition. Access all annual reports »

What’s on the Menu?

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