Nov 17, 2020
Mark Swingle, Chief of Research & Conservation
Virginia Aquarium’s Conservation Mission

Mark Swingle is a local boy, growing up and residing in Virginia Beach since the age of eight.  He earned a biology degree from the College of William and Mary (1976) and Master’s degree in Biological Oceanography from Old Dominion University (1980). He is currently the Chief of Research & Conservation and has worked at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center for more than 37 years. He has experience at just about every job related to exhibits, animal care and conservation research, planning and policy. Mark also leads the Aquarium’s Green Team to foster the development of sustainable practices in facility operations and the community at large.


Mark and his colleagues founded the Aquarium’s marine mammal and sea turtle Stranding Response Program in the late 1980s. Since that time, the Stranding Team has touched the lives of more than 10,000 animals. In 2003, Mark was appointed the first Director of the Aquarium’s new Research & Conservation Division. He has been fortunate to work with research projects involving bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, loggerhead sea turtles, and other marine mammal and sea turtle species. Mark serves as a member of many state and national research and management teams working for the conservation of marine mammals, sea turtles and their natural ocean habitats.


“I am a strong believer in the Aquarium’s core conservation mission of education, research and sustainable practices and am most proud of our significant contributions in these areas.”

Mark Swingle, Chief of Research & Conservation, Virginia Aquarium