A better understanding of belugas

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A better understanding of belugas

A Better Understanding of Belugas

What researchers learn from working with animals in open waters is a critical component of conservation work. The field data teaches us what animals are doing within their respective ecosystems. Field researchers collaborate with aquariums frequently informing, or supplementing what they are studying in the ocean because we can provide greater access to and deeper understanding of how belugas function.

Many aspects of marine mammal research are difficult, and sometimes impossible to conduct in nature due to the types of environments where they reside. Field researchers often look to aquariums as a means of validating methods or baseline data before testing. Aquarium research increases the scientific body of knowledge about belugas and helps us better understand issues threatening belugas in their natural habitats. 

Through work at Georgia Aquarium, we’ve made great strides in the following areas:

  • We now know that antibiotics could be reaching the marine environment which could lead to the occurrence of antibiotic resistance in cetaceans in the ocean.
  • Research that helps us understand the effects of underwater sound levels on marine mammals.
  • Understanding how marine mammals deal with changing water temperatures in the ocean.
  • Nutritional studies that help address nutritional needs and metabolic rates of belugas that face reductions in food sources or increasing competition for those sources in nature.

Georgia Aquarium has been collaborating with a diverse team of researchers conducting regular health assessments on belugas in Bristol Bay, Alaska. This team of researchers have greatly benefited from our involvement as we have developed safe beluga handling methods vital to this type of health assessment.

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