Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station (GACFS) is located in Marineland, Fla. on the same campus as sister facility Marineland Dolphin Adventure. The facility was established in 2008 as a partnership between Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and Marineland Dolphin Adventure to support research and conservation efforts in the field.

GACFS is dedicated to the research and rescue of dolphins and small whales in the waters of north Florida. The team assists in conducting necropsies, or animal autopsies, to determine the cause of death in stranded animals. They can find anything from ingestion or entanglement in marine debris, to a variety of infectious diseases that may play a role in many stranding cases. These necropsy results give researchers vital information about the health of the waterways and how it affects the animals that live there. Should a dolphin or whale strand alive, GACFS has the capacity to triage and transport good candidates to a nearby rehabilitation facility.

The GACFS team also conducts photo identification surveys of bottlenose dolphins in the north Florida waters. By utilizing unique nicks and notches in dolphins’ dorsal fins, they are able to identify and catalog distinct individuals.  These photo identification surveys help researchers keep detailed records of population numbers, movement patterns, and overall health. GACFS also participates in community outreach and education efforts in Flagler County public schools, helping to communicate the importance of preserving Florida’s waterways and its residents.

See how Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station’s work has impacted research efforts and the community:

Organizations like Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station and their work with marine mammal strandings is crucial to research and conservation efforts relating to the health of our oceans and the animals that inhabit them.

For more information on Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station and Georgia Aquarium’s conservation efforts, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/conserve.