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Awards

Dolphin Quest has received numerous awards over the years in a wide variety of categories for our animal care and training.

IMATA Logo

Dolphin Quest sends marine mammal specialists to the annual International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association (IMATA) conference to present important papers on behavioral training, research, education and conservation, husbandry training, and more.  This conference serves as an important vehicle to share important information with colleagues to help teach trainers and to ultimately improve the care and training of all marine animals.


Dolphin Quest has received numerous awards from IMATA over the years including the following:

Sonny Allen Professional Achievement Award

This award honors an individual who has demonstrated a dedication to the field of marine mammal science, training, and service to IMATA.

  • 2005 – Dr. Jay Sweeney – For his years of work in the field of marine mammal science, training, and with IMATA.

Behavioral Training Award

Training animal behavior allows us to demonstrate adaptations and capabilities to visitors and provides an opportunity to mentally engage animals as well.  This award category was IMATA’s original, and is still among the most cherished.  Training behavior is the soul of IMATA and these awards are given annually to the presentations that best demonstrate exceptional animal training.

  • 2006 – Preventative measures for behavioral management and training of a visually impaired Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in an interactive environment.
  • 2005 – Conditioning breath hold and exhalation in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to obtain transesophageal echocardiography.

Husbandry Training Award

Providing care for our animals is paramount, and animal training is a key factor that contributes to animal husbandry.  Samples collected and procedures performed using trained behavior allows for a positive experience for the animals while providing us with information and insight that helps maintain animal health.  This award is given to the presentation that best demonstrates effective husbandry training.

  • 2002 – Medical and behavioral management of a 3-year old bottlenose dolphin with fractures of the maxilla and mandible.
  • 1994 – Pre-natal care and post-natal observations of four Tursiops truncatus first time mothers.

Research Advancements

Research is a critical part of the work done by IMATA members in facilities all over the world. Properly conducted research projects can be laborious and time consuming, but results can and have made a difference in the lives of marine animals in our care or their wild counterparts or cousins. This award is given to the presentation that best represent research advancements in our field.

  • 2005 – An innovative medical, surgical, and behavioral approach to successfully repair an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin’s lacerated dorsal fin.

Education and Conservation Award

Education and Conservation are key elements in the IMATA mission statement and are vital to the survival of all marine animals. This award is given to the presentation that best represented achievements in education and/or conservation.

  • 1998 – Animal Training Adventure: Teaching the basics of training using mice, dogs, and dolphins.

People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award is given annually to the individual, group or organization that IMATA Conference attendees feel has made the greatest contribution to the conference. Votes are cast on the last day of the conference when IMATA attendees fill out individually issued People’s Choice Ballots.

  • 2011 – Outstanding conference planning.
  • 2003 – Outstanding contributions to the conference as host facility.
  • 1993 – Excellent work and contributions as host facility.

Outernet Technology Award

The Outernet Technology Award, sponsored by Outernet Technologies International, is given annually to the author of a formal paper or poster presentation which demonstrates an outstanding use of technology. All papers and posters submitted for the Annual Conference are automatically eligible for this award.

  • 2005 – An innovative medical, surgical, and behavioral approach to successfully repair an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin’s lacerated dorsal fin.

Coll Perske Photo & Art Awards

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is the longtime sponsor of the Photo & Art contest. The annual SAIC Art Contest was renamed the Coll Perske Photo & Art Contest in honor of SAIC trainer and avid photographer, Coll Perske, who lost his life during training exercises in April 2014. The contest happens annually at the Conference and is open to all IMATA members. Work is judged in one of three categories, PHOTO, ART, or HUMOR.

  • 2015 – Art sculpture
  • 2006 – Art sculpture
  • 2003 – Photo
  • 2002 – Photo
  • 1998 – Art sculpture
  • 1998 – Photo
  • 1993 – Photo
  • 1990 – Brochure and logo