Last month Stony Brook University’s 80′ research vessel, Seawolf, steered Roxanne back home. Roxanne, a rescued Risso’s dolphin that was found trapped on a sand bar in the Great South Bay, was nurtured back to health by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. After nearly 3 months of rehabilitation, Roxanne was finally brought back into her natural habitat.
In 2009, Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS,) and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation announced a public-private partnership to promote collaboration between the institutions. The partnership allowed the research expertise of SoMAS faculty to be available in support of Riverhead Foundation efforts, and provided Stony Brook University students with opportunities for hands-on learning.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation is a not for profit organization that operates the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The primary mission of the Riverhead Foundation is to preserve and protect our marine environment through education, rehabilitation, and research.
After three months of care and $200 a day in Roxanne’s food of choice, squid, she was finally ready to go home. Stony Brook University students were given a full “hands-on” experience when a group of 18 animal care members, a crane, a transport truck and Stony Brook’s vessel, Seawolf, were all needed to transport Roxanne back into her natural habitat. Through donations the Riverhead Foundation was able to raise the necessary $35,000 to cover the costs of transportation and satellite tagging.
Through Satellite tracking, the Foundation, along with SoMAS, will continue to track and monitor Roxanne’s movements in the Atlantic Ocean in the future. As we learned from watching Finding Nemo, when put in a difficult position, there’s one thing that fish and aquatic mammals need to do:
Dory: Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do?
Marlin: No I don’t wanna know.
Dory: Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.
Glenn is a student assistant in the Office of New Media of the State University of New York. He is an undergraduate economics and political science major at the University at Albany in Albany, NY.