ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C. (WVEC) -- Guests of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island have "rounded up" over $56,000 toward conservation in the fiscal year 2016/2017.

Guests rounded up their admission and gift shop purchases to the nearest dollar to help raise funds for important wildlife research and assistance.

“Whether it’s five cents or 95 cents, these donations add up to real money that have a real impact,” said NC Aquarium Society Director of Development Jay Barnes. “It’s an easy but important way to be part of the aquarium’s conservation mission.”

Money raised in the "Round Up for Conservation" is managed by the NC Aquarium Society, a non-profit, and are distributed on conservation grant applications.

At the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, planned conservation efforts include a lionfish mitigation study examining the best way to protect native species from the invasive fish, and collaborative research into the reproduction behavior of sand tiger sharks.

“We just want to say a big ‘Thank you,’ to our guests for participating,” said NCARI Guest Service Coordinator Jennifer Gamiel. “We’re grateful they choose us to come and visit, but especially grateful for their generosity.”

In total, the aquarium received $56,346.20.