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Evening Tide Talks

2023-2024 Guest Speaker Series

Evening Tide Talks is a complimentary lecture series featuring expert scientists and world explorers at The Florida Aquarium, presented by Wells Fargo. Each lecture takes place from 6:15 to 8:00pm at The Florida Aquarium  (doors open at 5:45pm) and includes a live presentation and Q&A session.

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Randall S. Wells
Director and Co-Founder, Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program

man with gray hair and glasses wearing black polo shirt in front of the oceanThe Bottlenose Dolphins of Sarasota Bay, Florida – Lessons from 50+ Years of Study
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Complimentary reception at 5:45pm | Talk begins at 6:15pm
Vinik Room – The Florida Aquarium

Humans have a long-standing fascination with dolphins. Research has provided opportunities to understand dolphins as individuals and members of a complex society, and also as our neighbors in a shared coastal ecosystem. We have learned a great deal about threats they face and how dolphins can serve as sentinels of ecosystem health.

Randall Wells is a co-founder and directs the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world’s longest-running dolphin conservation research program. Through photographic identification of dorsal fins, behavioral observations, acoustic recordings, tagging and tracking, and health assessments, datasets include more than 58,000 group sightings, over 177,000 individual identifications from more than a million archived photos, and nearly 900 health assessment sampling events of nearly 300 individuals. The program has also engaged in 27 rescues of dolphins in life-threatening situations, especially fishing line entanglements, along the west coast of Florida.

Dr. Wells began studying dolphins as a high school volunteer at Mote Marine Laboratory in 1970. He received his PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a post-doctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, before joining the Chicago Zoological Society in 1989. He has worked internationally on whale, dolphin, and manatee conservation. Dr. Wells has mentored 77 graduate students, led/co-authored more than 325 publications, been lead/co-author of more than 785 presentations, and serves on the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission’s Committee of Scientific Advisors and the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group.

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