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Carlsbad's Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute Among Conservation Grant Recipients

The Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to 93 wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation education projects, it was announced Friday.

The grant recipients included the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute in Carlsbad, where a long-term study is being conducted to monitor the abundance, population and habitat structure of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.

The funds will also go toward tracking penguin migrations in the Antarctic Peninsula using geolocation tagging and stable isotope studies, and collecting data that could help protect sea turtle hatchlings that become disoriented by lights on beaches and head away from the ocean.

Zoological researchers work alongside researchers on projects supported by the nonprofit conservation fund.

"No animal is immune to the threats that face wildlife today,'' said Brad Andrews, the Conservation Fund's president and executive director and Sea World's chief zoological officer. "The on-the-ground work from researchers, animal rehabilitators and educators is vital to help our planet's animal inhabitants not only to survive, but thrive.''

More than $10 million has been given out since the fund was established a decade ago, Sea World officials said.