Florencia Vilches - New England Aquarium
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Florence Vilches

Florencia Vilches

2018 Marine Conservation Action Fund (MCAF) Fellow
Researcher, Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas Argentina


Florencia Vilches is a researcher at the Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas (ICB) from Argentina, which promotes the protection of whales through research and education. After starting as a volunteer for ICB in 2008, she coordinated the Southern Right Whale Adoption Program and was a field assistant for the research program in Patagonia. Since 2016, Florencia has lead the longest continuous study in the world following the lives of known individual whales through photo-identification. She is also completing her doctoral studies at the University of California Santa Cruz to understand how changes in food availability—generated by changes in sea surface temperature—affect the migratory patterns and feeding preferences of right whales. Florencia is a Fulbright Scholar and a Southern Right Whale Consortium member.

Supported in part by MCAF, Florencia coordinates a citizen science project that seeks to integrate southern right whale photographs taken by whale watch operators with the five-decade aerial survey catalog curated by ICB to improve the models that describe this whale population’s dynamics. Florencia believes it is key that scientific knowledge is disseminated to the citizens. Any photographic record provided by the whale watch operators returns in the form of knowledge that is incorporated into their sighting experiences, hierarchizing and enriching them as the people who spend the most time in contact with the whales, and also reaching the thousands of tourists who enjoy the experience.

Learn more about Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas Argentina.


Southern Right Whales, Conservation Leadership, Social Media, Public Speaking, Conservation in Developing Countries, Advocacy, Education


Learn More About Florencia and Her Work


Marine Conservation Action Fund

Ensuring conservation leaders around the globe have the financial and professional resources to achieve key ocean conservation gains and the platform to amplify their work.