Nicks ‘n’ Notches

Nicks ‘n’ Notches is the annual report of the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Each issue contains an annual summary of the research, conservation, education and outreach activities conducted by the Program, as well as recognition of those who have made financial or in-kind donations of support.

The Program welcomes financial donations, as well as donations of equipment, such as boats, computers, cameras and vehicles. To find out how you can support the Program, please contact Claire Broadhead, Major Gifts Officer, at 708.688.8667 or email

Conservation Benefits from the Intersection of Art, Science, and Creativity

Our cover photo this year can be appreciated as artwork, even in the absence of knowledge about what went into creating it or why the photo is important. Diving deeper, the tag that is central to the image, on the dorsal fin of a beautiful, free-swimming Atlantic spotted dolphin, was attached by means of a new, state-of-the-art research tool, the culmination of nearly a decade of creative eff orts by scientists, veterinarians, and engineers. Our newly demonstrated capability to attach multi-month, satellite-linked transmitters to free-swimming dolphins with our pole-mounted Tag Attachment Device (TADpole, see page 30) should, after further testing and refi nement, have the potential to create new opportunities to obtain much-needed data on dolphin movements and behavior in some previously intractable situations in deep, off shore waters. The TADpole’s creation involved an iterative process, as we incrementally gained knowledge about the dolphins’ innate abilities with each prototype, and learned how those abilities pushed the limits of engineering solutions.