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Encore: Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary


It’s been 50 years since the first dolphins were tagged by researchers in Sarasota Bay. It was a new approach to gaining understanding of dolphin behavior. Over the past five decades research on that local dolphin population has continued through the work of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. It’s part of the Chicago Zoological Society but based at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. It is the longest-running study of a wild dolphin population anywhere in the world.

Through its efforts, since 1970 more than 52,400 dolphin group sightings have yielded more than 158,000 identifications of more than 5,600 individually distinctive dolphins — there in and around Sarasota Bay. The program recently celebrated its 50th anniversary so we chatted with its director, Dr. Randy Wells, a Senior Scientist and Director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.

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Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.