The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) is a unique natural laboratory to learn about the lives of wild dolphins. Forty years of study give us an unparalleled window into the world of dolphins.
We have learned that the Sarasota dolphins are permanent residents, a community of dolphins. Our frequent boat surveys allow us to find out how dolphins spend their days and with whom.
Sarasota dolphins are permanent residents, a community of dolphins.
By now, we know there are about 160 dolphins in the Sarasota community. We can recognize individuals spanning five generations.
Individual dolphins feed and socialize in various combinations. The tightest social bonds are between mothers and their most recent calf, and between pairs of males.
Experiments conducted as part of our dolphin health assessments have helped us understand their activities. Communication studies have contributed to studies in the wild, Listening to the dolphins helps us understand how they hunt prey and socializing.
About Sarasota Dolphins
Four decades of SDRP research indicate that the dolphins here are an identifiable social unit. It’s a dolphin community with roughly defined geographical boundaries, bordered by other dolphin communities.
The dolphins have fluid social structure, with adult companions changing frequently. Females typically stay in the community to reproduce, while males typically pair up and may wander between communities.
All photos © Sarasota Dolphin Research Program under NMFS permit #522-1785