PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Sarasota Dolphin Research Program documents record number of dolphin births in 2021

Dolphin mom F149 with calf 1498 on 8-23-21
Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program
F149’s eighth calf was first observed on Aug. 23, 2021. Her last calf, born in 2017, disappeared that same year.

This has turned out to be a record year for the number of dolphin calves born in and around Sarasota Bay. Researchers with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) have documented 22 dolphin births so far this year, exceeding the record of 21 set in 2017.

Based at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, the SDRP has been monitoring the bottlenose dolphin population there for more than five decades, greatly extending the understanding of dolphin behavior. It’s the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population.

We learn about the program, and what’s made 2021 a record breaking year for new dolphin births. Researchers suspect the severe red tide event along the southwest coast of Florida in 2018-2019 may have played a role. Listen in to find out why.

Dr. Randy Wells is Vice President of Marine Mammal Conservation and Director of the SDRP.

Click here if you’d like to hear what dolphin signature whistles sound like, from the episode we did on Sept. 30, 2020 to mark the SDRP's 50th anniversary.

Click here to find a link to the conversation we had on Nov. 2, 2021 with Dr. Beth Brady with the Manatee Research Program at Mote to hear some manatee vocalizations.


Related Content
  1. Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary
  2. Manatees communicate with one another using squeaks, squeals and chirps