The One Ocean One Health Institute would be part of the nonprofit Dolphin Conservation Center.
A new center for the study of the ocean may be built at Marineland as part of the nonprofit Dolphin Conservation Center.
The proposed center, called the One Ocean One Health Institute, would be constructed across from Marineland Dolphin Adventure as an initiative of Georgia Aquarium.
"This is not just statewide or countywide; this is an international coalition of people coming to work together to try to solve problems of the ocean. We're looking for cures from the ocean and cures for the ocean."
— JIM JACOBY
It would be built on land provided by developer Jim Jacoby, who is on the Georgia Aquarium board and who laid out the plans for the new institute to Flagler County commissioners during a commission workshop Dec. 3. Discussion of the proposed institute began in 2015, and the Flagler County Commission provided a letter of support in 2016.
"I think the time is really right, right now, to to create One Ocean One Health at Marineland — what's happening with all the problems with Florida algae blooms and red tides and so forth. ... We've put together a team of amazing scientists that all want to collectively work together," Jacoby said at the workshop. "One Ocean One Health Research Institute will be a global hub for scientific activity. This is not just statewide or countywide; this is an international coalition of people coming to work together to try to solve problems of the ocean. We're looking for cures from the ocean and cures for the ocean."
The project is now pursuing financing to develop the institute and is asking the county to provide an "inducement resolution" that identifies the project as supporting a public purpose, which would allow it to get lower interest rates on tax-exempt financing under state and federal programs, according to county staff documents. The board's consensus was in favor of the project.
The institute would have chairmanships in marine mammal health, pelagic biology, coral reefs, conservation, aquariculture and education.
The institute's campus, across from Marineland Dolphin Adventure and next to the Marineland Marina, would have a research and rehabilitation lagoon and two dolphin rehabilitation pools. A current two-story Georgia Aquarium building that serves as a field station would be converted into the first phase of the new institute, and an additional, one-story building would be added for research and education.