Dolphin Calving Season 2018

In the past few weeks, three well-known dolphins in our study area have given birth! The newborn dolphins are in good hands, as these mothers are extremely attentive and experienced. We look forward to watching them grow and can’t wait to see what surprises lie ahead as we move into calving season! Pictured here,TRIP, who is an excellent mom, for a long time kept all three of her calves with her (odd for a dolphin). Trips new calf is doing well. Note the dark coloration of the calf and the fetal folds (white stripes) which result from the calf being curled up in utero. These folds can last for up to a few months after a calf is born. As you can see in the second photo (just a few weeks later), the fetal folds are barely faint and the calf has grown significantly! We can’t wait to see these calves grow, sign up for our monthly newsletter and get updates on dolphins like this straight to your email!


Living Shoreline Update

In October 2016, HSWRI’s Coconut Point lab in Melbourne Beach was heavily damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Only 50 feet from the edge of the Indian River Lagoon, a huge water surge and 105 mph winds wreaked havoc on this site causing upwards of $200,000 in damages. The damage caused has risked the safety of the mangroves, salt marshes, oyster beds, and nursery grounds for all the wildlife that call this estuary home.

One year after Hurricane Matthew, October of 2017, HSWRI collaborated with the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserve and Marine Discovery Center (MDC) to harvest and transplant sea grasses from MDC in New Smyrna Beach, to HSWRI’s lab in Melbourne Beach. This began HSWRI’s living shoreline project, fortifying one damaged area of the seawall by harvesting and planting salt marsh grasses.

A seawall is a structure designed to reduce the damage from high wave activity like surges from hurricanes. This project will serve as a natural coastal defense by forming a vertical barrier between the land and the sea. A living seawall is a relatively new concept in that it consists of natural elements, i.e. sand, aquatic vegetation, or wetland plants, to absorb the power coming from wave energy. We’ve been allowing our native plants to grow and take root since October of last year. Having these plants on our shoreline help keep soil intact and also act as a barrier for water, insects and flooding during hurricane season which not only protects our property but provides natural habitat for wildlife that share our area. Check out the 8 month growth below!


JUNE 2018

More information about living shorelines:





Otter Sampling









Today at our labs, our research scientist Megan Stolen with the help of volunteers, retrieved several samples that will be sent to a research lab in California for further testing on potential diseases Otters can be exposed to. These samples will help provide valuable data on the negative effects on wildlife from coastal development and water quality.

Providing samples from aquatic animals to other scientific entities and research studies nationally is an example of HSWRI’s reach and commitment to the larger scientific community.

HSWRI’s Otter Spotter program not only trains citizens to spot and report Otter sightings, but also includes extensive research on diseases Otters may be exposed to. Otters’ well being can signal if there are environmental changes that could hurt wildlife and humans’ quality of life.


Good News! Update on Previously Sighted Dolphin

Good news! During one of our routine photo-ID surveys in Mosquito Lagoon on the east coast of FL, we re-sighted the boat strike dolphin, whose story we shared back in February. We are happy to say that this animal is healing very well and was seen with other resident dolphins!


Community Foundation for Brevard – Tour

We would like to thank Community Foundation for Brevard for touring our lab and bringing friends of their organization to learn more about our research work here at Hubbs-SeaWorld in Brevard! We are also grateful to be a grant awardee of CFB this year, it is truly our communities and partnerships like this that help us find solutions that aid in our scientific research for marine life in our Indian River Lagoon and oceans!




Loggerhead Sea Turtle Sighting

This week, while conducting a dolphin survey in the Mosquito Lagoon, our biologists spotted a loggerhead sea turtle drifting at the surface and struggling to breathe. The emaciated, juvenile turtle was transported to the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet for rehabilitation. The turtle was covered in parasites and would not have survived much longer without assistance. We are always on the lookout for animals in need, and our hopeful this sea turtle will make a full recovery!


National Volunteer Week- Casie and Brittiny

Volunteers are an integral part of the work we do at HSWRI. At our Florida location, that may mean spontaneously getting on to a boat to evaluate a dolphin. Yesterday, our volunteers Casie and Brittiny sprang into action when a sick or possibly injured dolphin was spotted near our lab. They assisted one of our research scientists in searching for the dolphin in order to identify any injuries. This is just one example of the exciting and important work our volunteers do! #nvw #volunteer #helpseachange #nationalvolunteerweek

– National Volunteer Week – Carli

It’s #NationalVolunteerWeek! At Hubbs, we could not do what we do without the help of our dedicated volunteers. In honor of #NVW, throughout the week we will share a bit about what our volunteers do and their dedication to #HelpSeaChange.

Carli volunteers at our Coconut Point lab in Melbourne Beach, Florida which is situated right on the Indian River Lagoon. She helps track the movement of known dolphins in the Halifax River and Indian River Lagoon by assisting during boat surveys and identifying individual dolphins using photo identification. HSWRI scientists survey local estuarine waters and take thousands of photos which are all sorted and identified back at our lab with the help of volunteers like Carli. Since no two dolphin dorsal fins are alike, photo ID, while a tedious process, helps HSWRI identify dolphins we have previously seen and keep track of their well-being. Carli is currently in college studying marine biology and hopes to work hands on with dolphins or sharks one day. Thank you Carli!

– Daytona Beach News Journal: Pygmy Sperm Whale Strands on Daytona Beach


By Dinah Voyles Pulver / April 13, 2018

DAYTONA BEACH — A pygmy sperm whale, possibly suffering from heart disease, stranded itself on the beach just as the sun came up Friday morning.

The whale was almost 10 feet long, said Wendy Noke, a marine mammal biologist with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute….

Link to article

PDF of article

– Spring 2018 Newsletter

The Spring 2018 Fins & Flukes newsletter is now available!

Click here for the latest news: Fins-and-Flukes-Spring-2018