The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) is a collaborative partnership dedicated to dolphin research, conservation, and education. The SDRP was started in 1970 through Mote Marine Laboratory when Blair Irvine and high school student Randy Wells began a tagging study to find out if dolphins in the area “lived there” year around.
With the addition of Michael Scott in 1974, we developed new tagging techniques and identified the first known resident population of dolphins. We now have more than 109,000 sightings of identifiable dolphins in our database.
The Dolphin Biology Research Institute (DBRI) was formed in 1982 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to support the SDRP and to promote public education about dolphins and dolphin conservation. DBRI has no salaried staff, and is supported by charitable giving.
113,000 sightings of identifiable dolphins in our database
This website is presented by DBRI through the efforts of volunteers and contract-labor, and is supported by charitable contributions.
Our primary partners: Since 1989, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) has led the SDRP partnership, providing an administrative home for the long-term program and support for ongoing program operations, including the CZS employees who form the core program staff. Mote Marine Laboratory, where our initial research was conducted during 1970-1971, has provided a base of operations on Sarasota Bay and access to laboratory facilities and infrastructure since 1992.
Program Director, (now) Dr. Randall Wells, PhD, guided the SDRP from a one-man operation in 1989 to its current complement of full and part time staff, who work with graduate students, interns, and volunteers.
The SDRP now is a preeminent international center for research into the biology of wild bottlenose dolphins.
Support from CZS and that of other collaborating institutions and agencies makes possible an array of local, national, and international research and conservation activities.