The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (“AMSEAS”) is a nonprofit organization with a mission of promoting conservation of the marine environment through action. Under the direction of founder and chief scientist Robert A. DiGiovanni, Jr., a nationally recognized expert in the field of marine biology, his team of specially trained staff and volunteers is the lead large whale response organization in New York State.
AMSEAS staff and volunteers are dedicated to identifying the causes of stranding mortalities of large whales, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles, and identifying the ways we may be able to mitigate these issues. During this past year, AMSEAS has responded to more than 200 animals, including 14 large whales, 30 other cetaceans, 132 seals, and 50 sea turtles from Montauk and Orient Point to Manhattan. During aerial surveys, they have documented grey seals hauling out on eastern Long Island during the summer. They have also satellite tagged and tracked grey seal pups from Massachusetts and Delaware to Canada, and everywhere in between, and conducted more than 45 beach monitorings and cleanups.
Something the organization has learned is that the occurrence of stranded deceased marine animals is often overshadowed by live stranding events. Coupling this with increased sightings of humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins, it is apparent that our ecosystems are changing. To better understand how these strandings relate to wild populations, AMSEAS partners with other organizations to conduct health assessments and population estimates.
To accomplish their mission, AMSEAS conducts health assessment projects on whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and seals; performs stranding investigations through necropsies (animal autopsies) on marine animals; conducts live rescues and health assessment captures, responds to reports of stranded marine animals; performs air, sea, and land based data collection; treats distressed and injured marine animals; and conducts outreach and educational programs in the community.
In an effort to learn more about various species and why these animals wash up on our shores, AMSEAS conducts stranding investigations with the support of network partners. Marine Mammals of Maine, Mystic Aquarium, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook Southampton, U.S. Coast Guard, Wildlife Conservation Society, Gotham Whale, The Nature Conservancy, International Fund for Animal Welfare, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Riverhead Foundation, local municipalities, and so many others have been instrumental in these response efforts.
Hoping they are not alone in their mission and with the belief that conservation efforts begin with all of us, AMSEAS works within the community to educate people about the marine environment and its inhabitants. They have made positive strides toward a trash-free world through beach cleanups, inspiring the next generation to become stewards of the environment through lectures, and educating the community on our marine environment and its inhabitants.
Learn more about the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society at: www.amseas.org. Conservation starts with you!