Frequently Asked Questions

I love dolphins. Can I volunteer with your Program?

Because we work under very strict federal guidelines, we do not have many opportunities to use volunteers in our day-to-day operations. Occasionally, people with very specialized skills — for example, marine veterinary training and experience — are able to participate in some of our research activities. If you have a special skillset like this, you’re welcome to email us at and we will see if we have any opportunities for you.

I’m in high school, can I get an internship with your program?

We love to see K-12 students who are interested in marine science and conservation. Unfortunately, we’re only able to offer students opportunities through formal, competitive college and postgraduate internship programs. However, our colleagues at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium do offer learning labs for high school students, which allows them to get their feet wet in the marine sciences. High schoolers should check out:

I took some great photo/videos of dolphins. How can I identify the dolphins in my images?

Individual dolphins can be identified by nicks and notches and other markings on their dorsal fins. We have used these markings to monitor and learn about the dolphins of Sarasota Bay for more than 50 years! You can visit our Meet the Dolphins page to see if you can match your pictures to any of the known dolphins in our community.

As you’re taking photos and videos of wild dolphins, please be sure that you’re doing so safely — for both you and the dolphins. Members of the public should follow the federal guidelines and remain at least 50 yards away. And remember: If you ever see a dead, sick, or injured dolphin, manatee, or sea turtle in Florida, call the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). Mobile users can also call *FWC or #FWC, or send a email to

I took some great pictures/video of a dolphin. Do you want them?

We are constrained by our federal research permit in how we are able to obtain data. Our permit allows our research team to approach dolphins in a very  specific manner and to get closer than 50 yards to collect the photos and videos that aid our identification of dolphins. According to our permit rules, we are required to identify each of the researchers working with us on the permit allowing us to collect the data. We are not allowed to encourage others to approach dolphins closer than the 50 yards authorized by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. For all of these reasons, we are unable to use your photos or videos.