TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) recently led the first-ever health assessment of an offshore dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico and continues to track the mammal.

A team of researchers – which also included the National Marine Mammal Foundation, the University of Florida, Syracuse University, Mote Marine Laboratory, the Chicago Zoological Society and Fundacion Oceanografic – briefly caught an adult female Atlantic spotted dolphin, nicknamed Eugenie Clark, on June 1.

Eugenie Clark received a veterinary examination. Blood, biological samples and measurements were taken. An ultrasound was used to check the health of the dolphin’s lungs and other organs.

She was then tagged with a satellite-linked transmitter and released about 27 miles offshore of Sarasota, according to SDRP.

The Chicago Zoological Society-Sarasota Dolphin Research Program conducts the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. Researchers have been studying bottlenose dolphins in the inshore and coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico since 1970.

According to SDRP, research includes periodic health assessments of dolphins in shallow, inshore waters.

The goal of the latest assessment and tracking of Eugenie Clark is to study the health and patterns of the animals offshore of the Gulf.

SDRP said the study will help fill in gaps of knowledge of dolphins relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Eugenie Clark’s transmitter will provide researchers with her location and the depths and durations of her dives every other day for the next few months, according to SDRP. The tag itself is programmed to automatically release.

(CZS-Sarasota Dolphin Research Program)

Initial data showed Eugenie Clark moving through the same locations where frequent sightings of spotted dolphins have been reported. Some of the Eugenie Clark’s dive depths were more than 90-feet deep, near the sea floor, lasting for over three minutes, according to SDRP.

Research is being conducted by SDRP Program Director Randall Wells, through Mote Marine Laboratory. It will continue for three more field sessions over the next two years, focusing on Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins that use shelf waters up to about 50 miles from shore, according to SDRP.

In the latest tracking update of Eugenie Clark on July 7, which was posted to the SDRP website, the dolphin had moved 25-43 miles off the coast, between Tampa Bay and Englewood. Data showed she dove as deep as 147.6 feet (45 meters) for up to four minutes.

Eugenie Clark was named in honor of the marine scientist who founded Mote Marine Laboratory in 1955 and began the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program in 1970.