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Gretchen Lovewell

Staff Scientist & Program Manager

Stranding Investigations Program

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans


Ms. Gretchen Lovewell is the Program Manager for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program (SIP). She has been active in the stranding network since 1999 where she was a student at University of North Carolina Wilmington. Gretchen has been in a leadership role since 2003, first as North Carolina state stranding coordinator for National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center from 2003-2009, and the SIP Program Manager since 2009. Gretchen has responded to over 40 different species of marine mammals and sea turtles through hundreds of stranding responses, necropsies (animal autopsies), and rescues. In addition to her stranding work, Gretchen manages the Ruth DeLynn Cetacean Osteological Collection. Gretchen has participated in aerial and vessel surveys for marine mammals, is a Level 3 first responder for large whale disentanglement, and has participated in multiple dolphin health assessments. This work has led to several collaborations on peer-reviewed scientific papers, presentations and reports.


BS in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Designated Onsite Coordinator by NOAA Fisheries for 2018–2019 Bottlenose Dolphin Unusual Mortality Event Southwest Florida

Completed National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System ICS-100, 200, 300, 400, 700, and 800

Recognition of “Extraordinary Efforts in Responding to Pilot Whale Mass Strandings in Southwest Florida ” Awarded from NOAA Fisheries 2014

Recognition of “Extraordinary Efforts to Rescue and Disentangle Small Cetaceans” Awarded from NOAA Fisheries 2012

Crisis Response Team Efficiency Award from FWCC November 2011

Recognition of “Responding to Elevated Numbers of Large Whale Strandings in the SER, 2007-2009” Awarded from NOAA Fisheries 2009

Current Publications

Ashley Barratclough, Wayne E. McFee, Megan Stolen, Aleta A. Hohn, Gretchen N. Lovewell, Forrest M. Gomez, Cynthia R. Smith, Daniel Garcia-Parraga, Randall S. Wells, Celeste Parry, Risa Daniels, Sam H. Ridgway, and Lori Schwacke (2023). How to estimate age of old bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus); by tooth or pectoral flipper?. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10, 1135521.
Amber Lea D. Kincaid, Gretchen N. Lovewell, Jason B. Allen, Kim Bassos-Hull, Jessica L. Blackburn, Rebeccah A. Hazelkorn, and Randall S. Wells (2022). Necrocoitus in Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) near Sarasota, Florida. Aquatic Mammals, 68(6), 693-702.

Additional Publications

Bowens-Stevens, S.R., Gannon, D.P., Hazelkorn, R.A., Lovewell G., Volker, K.M., Smith, S., Tumlin, M.C., and J. Litz. Diet of Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, that stranded in and Near Barataria Bay, Louisiana, 2010-2012. Southeastern Naturalist, 20 (1) 117-134, 2021.

McHugh, K. A., Barleycorn, A.A., Allen, J.B., Bassos-Hull, K., Lovewell, G., Boyd, D., Panike, A., Cush, C., Fauquier, D., Mase,B., Lacy, R.C., Greenfield, M.R., Rubenstein, D.I., Weaver, A., Stone A., Oliver, L., Morse, K., and R.S. Wells. Staying Alive: Long-Term Success of Bottlenose Dolphin Interventions in Southwest Florida. Frontiers in Marine Science Vol 7., DOI=10.3389/fmars.2020.624729, January, 2021.

Mocada, F., Nodarse, G., Valido, L., Byrd, L., Lovewell, G., Blackburn, J., and A.L. Kincaid. Juvenile Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) Head-started in Cuba Recaptured in Florida. Marine Turtle Newsletter, 163:15-17, 2021.

Powell, JWB, Duffield, DA, Kaufman, JJ, Luo, G, Lovewell, GN, McFee, WE. Bone mineral density of the common bottlenose dolphin radius: A primary skeletal site for clinical bone densitometry and preliminary descriptive data set using archival specimens. Mar Mam Sci. 2021; 37: 374– 384.

Hazelkorn, R.A., Wells, R.S., Siders, Z.A., DeLynn, R.E., and G.N. Lovewell. Physical maturity in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida. Marine Mammal Science, Vol 36, No 4, pp 1309-1321. October 2020

Ewing, R.Y., Rotstein, D.S., McLellan, W.A., Costidis, A.M., Lovewell, G.N., Schaefer, A.M., Romero, C.H., and G.D. Bossart. Macroscopic and Histopathologic Findings from a Mass Stranding of Rough-Toothed Dolphins (Steno bredanensis) in 2005 on Marathon Key, Florida, USA. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Vol 7. September, 2020.

Christiansen, F., McHugh, K.A., Bejder, L., Siegan, E.M., Lusseau, D., McCabe, E.B., Lovewell, G., and R.S. Wells. Food provisioning increases the risk of injury in a long-lived marine top predator. Royal Society Publishing, open sci. 2016 3160560; DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160560. Published 21 December 2016

Keenan-Bateman, T.F., McLellan, W.A., Harms, C.A., Piscitelli, M.A., Barco, S.G., Thayer, V.G., Lovewell, G.N., Clark, K.A., Doshkov, P.K., Rotstein, D.S., Potter, C.W., and D.A. Pabst. Prevalence and anatomic site of Crassicauda sp. infection, in kogiid whales from the mid-Atlantic United States. Marine Mammal Science, Vol 32, No 3, pp 868-883. July, 2016.

Colegrove, K.M, Venn-Watson, S., Litz, J., Kinsel, M.J., Terio, K.A., Fougeres, E., Ewing, R., Pabst, D.A., McLellan, W.A., Raverty, S., Saliki, J., Fire, S., Rappucci, G., Bowen-Stevens, S., Noble, L., Costidis, A., Barbieri, M., Field, C., Smith, S.,
Carmichael, R., Chevis, C., Hatchett, W., Shannon, D., Tumlin, M., Lovewell, G., McFee, W., and T.K. Rowles. Fetal distress and in utero Brucella pneumonia in perinatal bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) during the Northern Gulf of Mexico unusual mortality event: 2010 through 2013. DOA 119:1-16, April 2016.

Servis, J.A., Lovewell, G.N., and A.D. Tucker. Diet analysis of subadult Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) turtles from West-Central Florida. Chelonian Conservation and Biology. Vol. 14, No 2, pp173-181. December 2015.

Venn-Watson S., Colegrove K.M., Litz, J., Kinsel M., Terio K., Saliki J., Fire S., Carmichael R., Chevis, C., Hatchett W.,Pitchford J., Tumlin M., Field C., Smith S., Ewing R., Fauquier D., Lovewell G., Whitehead H., Rotstein D., McFee W.,
Fougeres E., and T. Rowles. Adrenal gland and lung lesions on Gulf of Mexico common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) found dead following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126538.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126538dol:10.1371/journal.pone.0083645. 2015.

Wells, R.S., Allen, J.B., Lovewell, G.N, Gorzelany, J., Delynn, R.E., Fauquier, D.A., and N.B. Barros. 2014. Carcass-recovery rates from resident bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida. Marine Mammal Science, Vol. 31. No 1, pp 355-368. January 2015.

Amaral, A. R., Lovewell, G., Coelho, M.M., Amato, G., and Rosenbaum, H.C. Hybrid speciation in a marine mammal: the Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene). PLoS ONE 9(1): e83645. dol:10.1371/journal.pone.0083645, 2014.

Byrd, B. L., Hohn, A. A., Lovewell, G. N., Altman, K., Barco, S., Friedlaender, A., Harms, C., Martone, P., McLellan, W.A., Pabst, D.A., Thayer, V.G., and Moore, K. T. Strandings illustrate marine mammal biodiversity and human impacts off the coast of North Carolina, USA. Fish. Bull. 112:1-23. January 2014.

Begeman, L., St. Leger, J. A., Blyde, D. J., Jauniaus, T.P., Lair, S., Lovewell, G. N., Raverty, S., Seibel, H., Siebert, U., Staggs, L., Martelli, P., and Keesler, R. I. Instestinal volvulus in cetaceans. Veterinary Pathology 50:4 590-596 July 2013.

Delynn, R. A., Lovewell, G. N., Wells, R. S., and Early, G. Congenital Scoliosis in a Bottlenose Dolphin. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 41:4 979-983 October 2011.

Fire, S.E., Wanga, Z., Leighfield, T.A., Morton, S.L., McFee, W.E., McLellan, W.A., Litaker, R.W., Tester, P.A., Hohn, A.H., Lovewell G.N., Harms,C.A., Rotstein, D.S., Barco, S.G., Costidis, A., Sheppard, B., Bossart, G.D., Stolen, M., Noke Durden, W., and Van Dolah, F.M. Domoic acid exposure in pygmy and dwarf sperm whales (Kogia spp.) from southeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. waters. Harmful Algae 8 658-664, 2009.

Harms, C. A., Maggi, R. G., Breitschwerdt, E. B., Clemons-Chevis, C. L., Solangi, M., Rotstein, D. S., Fair, P. A. Hansen, L. J., Hohn, A. A., Lovewell, G. N., McLellan W. A., Pabst, D. A., Rowles, T. K., Schwacke, L. H. Towsend, F. I., and Wells, R. S. Bartonella species detection in captive, stranded and free-ranging cetaceans.
Veterinary Research 39:59, 2008.

Byrd, B.L., Hohn, A.H., Munden, F.H., Lovewell, G.N., and LoPiccolo, R.L. Changes in Commercial Fishing Regulations Affect Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Strandings. Fishery Bulletin 106:72-81 January 2008.

Harms, C.A., Lovewell, G.N., Rotstein, D.S., Hyperglycemic Cataracts in a Live-Stranded Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Calf. Marine Mammal Science. Dec 2007.

Rotstein, D.S., Harms, C.A., Lovewell, G.N., Hohn, A.H. Gastric leiomyoma in a free-living Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The Veterinary Record, January 2007; 160: 130-131.