Sundial Beach Resort & Spa Chosen as Site for Sanibel Sand Dollar Study

DATE: November 12, 2015

Sanibel Sea School has begun a multi-year study of Sanibel Island’s sand dollar population this year, with Sundial Beach Resort & Spa’s property serving as one of two study sites chosen by the school’s researchers.

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is a full-service resort and spa on Sanibel Island, recognized as the area’s “Best Resort” and “Best Full-Service Resort.”

In partnership with Sanibel Sea School, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa has offered field-based ocean experiences since February 2015. Both parties are excited to add scientific research to the list of learning opportunities available to visitors and guests of the resort.

Sundial Sand Dollar Study

“We started this project because this year we witnessed a massive influx of juvenile sand dollars on the sandbar in front of Sundial – more than we have witnessed in the past nine years on the east end of our island,” said Dr. Bruce Neill, Sanibel Sea School’s executive director. “Our attempts to find information about what was happening led us to realize that not much is known about the biology of sand dollars, and no one has studied our local sand dollar populations.”

Sanibel Sea School, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future one person at a time, has always planned to have a research division to better understand the ocean and help students experience science first-hand.

The sudden appearance of so many sand dollars this summer provided the perfect opportunity and motivation to launch the project, which will receive advisory support from experts at three universities.

Sundial Sand Dollar Study

The study of Sanibel’s sand dollar population will aim to answer questions like:

  • How many sand dollars inhabit our sandbars?
  • When do our local populations reproduce?
  • How closely are they related to sand dollars in other parts of the world?
  • What habitats do sand dollars prefer?
  • What’s the age structure of the population?
  • What are the behaviors of individual sand dollars like?

Results from this study will allow researchers to draw conclusions about the dynamics and health of Sanibel’s waters. The study also will provide a unique opportunity for both residents and vacationers to observe and participate in science.

“We invite Sundial guests of all ages to learn more about this research,” Neill said. “The resort’s location provides the perfect setting to experience a little bit of marine science while you’re visiting our island, and we hope you will stop by our classroom next to the main pool to learn more.”

Sundial Sand Dollar Study

To learn more about the Sanibel sand dollar study and how you can participate, call (239) 472-8585 or email To learn more about Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, contact us today.

About Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. Dedicated to vibrantly teaching children and adults about marine ecosystems, it offers students an opportunity to touch, feel, and interact with Sundial’s beachfront environment. Visit to learn more.

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