itn071204 (2)The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) assisted The Riverhead foundation for Marine Research and Preservation with the release of “Seabreeze” a nine-foot long male offshore bottlenose dolphin, for the last 3 months, Seabreeze had undergone intensive rehabilitation at the Riverhead Foundation’s hospital facility located at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium. With the help of SoMAS’s 80 ft research vessel the RV Seawolf, a healthy and vibrant Seabreeze was released back in to the waters of the Atlantic on the afternoon of November 12, 2007.

Robert DiGiovanni, Jr., Director/Senior Biologist for the Riverhead Foundation, explained that, “Seabreeze was rescued from the shallow, murky waters of a Bellmore canal on July 21, 2007. The rescue was a community effort involving residents, the Town of Hempstead Bay Constables, Nassau County Police, the local EMS team, and biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. Seabreeze was initially diagnosed with severe gastritis, the then 470-pound dolphin was also critically underweight and suffering from dehydration. After three months of intensive care, Seabreeze, now 700 pounds, and has made his journey back to the sea.”

SoMAS Associate Dean, Larry Swanson was among the volunteers on the RV Seawolf. “I was very pleased to see the excitement and enthusiasm of the 8 SoMAS undergraduate students who were able to participate in the release. This was a great educational opportunity.”

SoMAS donated the use of the RV Seawolf to transport Seabreeze out to sea. “We are very pleased to assist the Riverhead Foundation in this dual humanitarian and research effort,” said SoMAS Dean and Director, David Conover. “The knowledge gained from tracking this satellite-tagged dolphin will help us understand the fate of rehabilitated animals after release and how they re-adapt to the wild.”

Seabreeze is New York State’s first satellite tagged offshore bottlenose dolphin. His movements are tracked and displayed on the Riverhead Foundation’s web site at : www.riverheadfoundation.org

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