We conduct research and population assessments on a number of marine species, including sharks, sea turtles, and corals. Because Florida has more ornamental marine fish species observed than any other state, we assist in observing and monitoring invasive species and newly found exotic species, and study their effect on inshore habitats and commercially important fish species. Endangered species are protected under the Endangered Species Act and all marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA.
We also do extensive work on both assessing, protecting, and responding to strandings of marine mammals such as whales and dolphins. The Southeast Fisheries Science Center is the base for the Southeast United States Marine Mammal Stranding Program. We authorize organizations and volunteers under the MMPA to respond to marine mammal strandings throughout the United States. These organizations form the stranding network whose participants are trained to respond and collect samples from live and dead marine mammals that strand along southeastern United State beaches. We also conduct ship surveys to assess the abundance and distribution of cetaceans over large areas of the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, and Caribbean Sea. Data from these surveys are used to make management decisions mandated by the MMPA.
Visit our site at www.sefsc.noaa.gov or click on our quick links below:
Marine mammal program
Protection of sea turtles
Invasive and exotic species research