September 2016 marks one year of Sanibel Sea School conducting sand dollar research on Sanibel. We've had the opportunity to sample the sand dollar populations at two locations, Sundial Beach Resort and Buttonwood Beach, each month except for June and August.
We've been collecting data on juvenile size frequency, adult density, and adult size frequency. Over the past year, we've seen changes in the sand dollar distribution at both of our sampling sites, along with changes in the seafloor topography after the tropical storms we've had in the area.
We've seen a large decrease in the density of juveniles at both locations - meaning there are less juveniles per square meter. We will continue to monitor the growth of last year's settlement.
Soon, we will begin to collaborate with Canterbury School's staff to help with at least 5 science fair projects for both middle and high school Independent Science Research classes. Students will choose a topic of interest related to sand dollars and we will assist them in developing scientific research methods for their projects.
Below, we share a visual summary of our results.