In September 2015, Sanibel Sea School began a multi-year study of Sanibel’s sand dollar population, with Sundial Resort's property serving as one of two study sites chosen by our research team. We are excited to add scientific research to the list of learning opportunities available to our clients.
“We started this project because this year, we witnessed a massive influx of juvenile sand dollars on the sandbars along Sanibel – more than we have witnessed in the past nine years on the east end of our island. Our attempts to find information about what was happening led us to realize that not much is known about the biology of sand dollars, and no one has studied our local sand dollar populations,” says Doc Bruce.
We've always planned to have a research division at Sanibel Sea School to better understand the ocean and help students experience science first-hand. The sudden appearance of so many sand dollars this summer provided the perfect opportunity and motivation to launch our project, which will receive advisory support from experts at three universities.
Our study will aim to answer questions like how many sand dollars inhabit our sandbars, when do our local populations reproduce, how closely are they related to sand dollars in other parts of the world, what habitats do they prefer, what the age structure of the population is, and what the behaviors of individual sand dollars are like. Results will allow our researchers to draw conclusions about the dynamics and health of Sanibel’s waters, and the study will provide a unique opportunity for both locals and vacationers to observe and participate in science. “We invite locals and visitors of all ages to stop by any of our locations to learn more about this research,” says Doc Bruce, "and please stay tuned for future updates on our website and our blog!"