Volume 26, Number 2


February 2015

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There's always something happening here at the Sea Lab, and we hope to bring you frequent updates of the latest activities.


Summer College Courses Now Open For Enrollment at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab

The R/V Alabama Discovery is your classroom during summer programs at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Here, a student displays a longnosed gar, Lepisosteus osseus.

Hit the beach and earn college credit this summer at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). Located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the DISL is a consortium of 22 colleges and universities in the state of Alabama. The DISL campus is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound, making it an ideal location for marine science study and research. (READ MORE)

Backyard Birds: Snack du jour for Tiger Sharks? Satellite Tracking Project Launches on Experiment.com

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Dr. Marcus Drymon with a prime specimen. Top supporters will have a chance to observe a tagging operation – visit experiment.com on March 1.

Shark! The word can strike shivers of fear in the general public, but the reality is that their low reproductive rates and high demand in Asian markets have threatened the global conservation status of many of these fish. Sharks play a vital role in the ocean's food web, and scientists worldwide are working to better understand, protect and conserve sharks in a number of ways. (READ MORE)

AMSTI – One of DHP's great partners in education

DHP and AMSTI at Montevallo – where touching the specimens is encouraged!

One of the bright lights in science and math education for Alabama's school children is the Alabama Math and Science Technology initiative, known as AMSTI. The philosophy behind AMSTI is that hands-on, inquiry based teaching engages students and leads to greater success. This philosophy is very familiar to Discovery Hall Programs' education staff as it has been our mantra for decades. (READ MORE)

May Tillman – 1929-2015

Top left – May Tillman; top right – Mae's famous "Tribute" cookbook; bottom (l-r) Rita George, Dr. George Crozier, and Mae Tillman at the DISL 30th reunion – Ms. George and Dr. Crozier have both wielded spatulas to feed hungry students, all under the watchful eye of Mae Tillman. Credit – Melissa Mills and Daphne Wood.

May Tillman passing away is truly the end of an era in the history of Alabama marine laboratories. May began as the office manager at the original Seafood Division in Bayou La Batre. This is the office that regulated the oyster fishery which supported her family, of which she was the oldest of 12 children. She began her marine biological career driving her father's oyster truck. In 1963 that program moved to a really modern laboratory on Dauphin Island in a partnership with the University of Alabama. When that institutional arrangement was terminated, May moved with the University to a surplus Corps of Engineers quarters boat which Dr. George Rounsefell and a few unwitting graduate students had placed in the middle of Pt. aux Pins, using dynamite and a lot of nerve. (READ MORE)

Robots, drones, and ROVs

ROV outreach gets hands-on in Auburn.

The increase in the number of tasks being done by robots in the last decade has been dramatic. There seems to be no area of human activity untouched by the increasing reliance on programmed or remotely controlled robots: think of building cars, doing surgery and even exploring our world. With ~70% of the earth's surface and more than 95% of all living space on Earth being wet and salty, that is, in the ocean, robots are also important in ocean exploration, marine science research and marine industry. These robots are known as ROVs – remotely operated vehicles or AUVs – autonomous underwater vehicles. Over the past several years, and with the help of a number of grants, Discovery Hall Programs has developed a ROV program for school age students and teachers. Now, we are 'taking to the road' with our ROV program. (READ MORE)

ExxonMobil Donates $73,000 to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

(l-r) Dr. John Dindo and Russ Golson, Operations Superintendent, ExxonMobil

For over eighteen years, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) and ExxonMobil Corporation have maintained a partnership in providing coastal marine science education to students and the public. Recently, ExxonMobil donated $35,000 to the DISL, providing support for Graduate Students fellowships; the Graduate Student organization; the Discovery Hall Program, DISL's K-12 and teacher training program; and BayMobile. BayMobile is a mobile coastal marine science program that travels throughout the state of Alabama, bringing the coast to 10,000 students a year. (READ MORE)

Congrats to Grad Student Shailesh Sharma!

Shailesh Sharma will be trading in his usual field routine for the offices of Washington, as he begins his Knauss Fellowship this month.

Shailesh Sharma, a PhD candidate with Dr. Just Cebrian at Dauphin Island Sea Lab will join the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) starting this February as a Knauss fellow. Shailesh was selected as an executive fellow representing Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. He will spend one year at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD as an Aquatic Invasive Species Analyst. (READ MORE)

Mark Your Calendars

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Prepare to discover and wonder on Discovery Day, Saturday, April 11 at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Discovery Day at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. This annual event features FREE children's admission to the Estuarium; reduced adult admission; OPEN HOUSE at the research labs (the only time of the year we open them to the public); and a ton of free marine activities for the whole family! Discovery Day will be held 10am to 2pm on April 11. Email langelo@disl.org for more details. (READ MORE)

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