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Press Release for Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Brotman Lecture Series Speaker Discusses 'The True Story Behind 'Dolphin Tale' Movie

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

Abigale Stone, stranding coordinator at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, will discuss "Rescuing Winter, Hope and More: The True Story Behind 'Dolphin Tale'" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theater, Building 14A, on the UNF campus. Doors open at 6 p.m. Displays about local dolphin research at UNF as well as the Fish and Wildlife Commission will also be available between 6 and 7 p.m.


Stone has been at CMA since 1996 and is highly experienced in the behavioral assessments, observations, animal handling, medical procedures and treatment of various cetacean species, which includes dolphins, whales and porpoises. Over the past 20 years, she has played an integral role in the growth of the aquarium, especially regarding the facility's most famous resident, Winter the dolphin, the lead character in the 2011 movie "Dolphin Tale."


Winter arrived at CMA in December 2005 after she was found off Florida's east coast entangled in a crab trap, cutting off all circulation to her tail, which CMA tried to save. As a result, the bottlenose dolphin developed a modified swimming pattern that put her at risk of developing degenerative changes in her spine.


As a primary caregiver to Winter, Stone was part of the team that developed her prosthetic tail and taught her how to use it. During the period that she managed the resident dolphins, Stone focused on behavior conditioning for husbandry or medical management and cognitive research initiatives.


In addition to resident dolphin care, her talents have majorly contributed to the hundreds of responses the Stranding Team conducts each year for marine animals in distress. In 2009, Stone became the Stranding Coordinator for CMA. In this role, she has provided rehabilitative care to several species of cetaceans and is responsible for the collection and management of data used for marine mammal research as well as conservation initiatives. Most recently, in collaboration with CMA's Education Team, Stone expanded her scope of work to include the role of principle investigator for CMA's Dolphin Photo ID program.


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is sponsored by The Brotman Family Coastal Biology Lecture Series and the UNF Coastal and Marine Biology Flagship Program. All Distinguished Voices lectures are free and open to the public and require an e-ticket, however, seating is limited. To get an e-ticket, visit the UNF E-ticketing webpage. For more information, contact Michelle Davis, UNF Coastal and Marine Biology Flagship Program, at (904) 620-2830 or at


The Coastal and Marine Biology Flagship Program is one of only six UNF academic programs selected for Flagship status because of the research accomplishments of its faculty, educational opportunities for its students and its contributions to public education and science-based policymaking about the ocean. The program's mission is to discover and educate others about coastal and marine life with the goal of preserving it for future generations.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.