Dolphin FB11


Name: FB11, also known as Merrily

Sex: Female

Age: Born 1984

A Dolphin’s Life

Merrily is one of our most recognizable and most frequently observed dolphins in Sarasota Bay — she’s been observed by our research teams more than 1,400 times and in every year since her birth in 1984.

Merrily, who has a distinctive notch near the top of her dorsal fin, is the calf of Granny and the younger sister of Genie. This was the first matriline that we determined to extend through at least three generations in Sarasota Bay.

She appears to be a good mother herself, as she has given birth to five calves. To date, all of them have survived — which is a rare occurrence in the dolphin world. Merrily’s second calf (F179) has even given birth to her two grandcalves.

A Dolphin’s Voice

A Special Note About the Audio Recording

In collaboration with numerous colleagues over the past 35 years, our dolphin communication research team has collected thousands of hours of acoustic recordings from members of the resident Sarasota bottlenose dolphin community, with a focus on individually distinctive signature whistles. Recordings have been made during periodic health assessments, when we are able to obtain high-quality recordings of known individual dolphins. We are currently in the process of systematically assembling a verified signature whistle catalog, with multiple samples from each of the approximately 1,000 unique recording sessions of almost 300 individual dolphins. Members of this collaborative team, and our student researchers, come from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, University of St. Andrews, and Hampshire College. Learn more about dolphin communication.

Merrily and her calves

Merrily — the larger dolphin in the back — surfaces with her fifth calf (in the middle) and her second calf (in the front) in March 2017.