Volume 24, Number 7


July 2014

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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.


The Estuarium to Host Coastal America Art Exhibit – July 16-September 17

"Wonderful Ocean" by Haylie Gullitch

The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will be displaying the 2014 Coastal America Partnership Art Contest winning artwork from July 16 to September 17. One of these artworks was produced locally by Haylie Gullitch, a rising third-grader from Mobile's Covenant Christian School. Her drawing, "Wonderful Ocean," will now be included in this national travelling art exhibit. (READ MORE)

Alabama's Biodiversity

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Participants of The ABCs: Alabama's Biodiverse Coast. Credit: T. Miller-Way.

Alabama is an amazing place - and not just because it's the home of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab! Alabama is one of the most biodiverse states in the US. It is home to more than 4500 species of plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. And yet, this fact is little known or appreciated by many of our citizens. Discovery Hall Programs, the education and outreach group of the Sea Lab, worked with Legacy, an environmental education organization in Alabama (http://legacyenved.org) over this past year to be able to offer a workshop exploring the biodiversity of coastal Alabama titled The ABCs: Alabama's Biodiverse Coast. (READ MORE)

Barrier Island Explorers

Educator JoAnne Moody (r) lectures BIE participants before heading out into the field. Credit: M. Short.

Local students had a swimmingly good time during the Barrier Island Explorer overnight camp at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). Barrier Island Explorer, part of the Sea Lab's K-12 educational program known as Discovery Hall Programs, brings rising fifth and sixth-graders from around the country together to learn about the Gulf Coast's marine environment. (READ MORE)

Make Way for Mississippi Manatees

Manatee found in 2011 in Mary Walker Bayou near Gautier, MS. Credit: DISL/MSN Contributor

Many residents and boaters on the Mississippi coast are discovering that the West Indian manatee is a not so uncommon seasonal visitor to local waters. Researchers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's Manatee Sighting Network (DISL/MSN) have been studying manatees in the northern Gulf of Mexico, particularly Alabama and Florida since 2007. Between 1978 and 2006 there were a total of 26 manatee sightings reported in Mississippi waters, but for the past 6 years, sighting reports have averaged 16 per year, suggesting a possible increase in numbers of manatees visiting Mississippi and increased public awareness. (READ MORE)

High School Students Learn Science, Earn Credits and Make Friends during the Summer at DISL

The high school group aboard the R/V Alabama-Discovery after another exciting trip!

Summers at the Sea Lab mean students on campus of all ages, from elementary students to graduate students.  Some of these students are here to participate in Discovery Hall Programs' marine science class for high school students. This highly competitive class is sought after by students from across the US who are passionate about, involved with, or just curious about marine science as a career option. (READ MORE)

Friendly Faces – Aquarists Hard at Work and New Estuarium Staff

Top photo (l-r): Brian Jones, Senior Aquarist; Logan Holfelder, Intern; Joe Ingraham, Aquarist; Alex Shealy, Intern; Edwin Torres, Aquarist; and Tiffany Christiansen, Aquarist.
Bottom photo (l-r): Jeana Layne, Gift Shop Manager; Carol Ann Goodwin; Mary Kathryn Ladnier; Jamelle Roy, Estuarium Docent Coordinator; Susi Callister; Janice Watanabe; Cathy Miller; and Amy Hannah. Photo credits – M. Short.

There is no great aquarium experience without a great staff, and we like to think we have one of the best. The Estuarium's very own "fish whisperers" face the daily challenges of sustaining a variety of marine life with vigilance and positivity. (READ MORE)

Educators learn about seafood industry and culture

Marine Educator Greg Graeber (at computer) leading the Fins Fishes, and Fisheries teacher workshop. Credit: M. Short.

Teachers from all over the Southeast traveled to Dauphin Island, Ala. to attend the "Fins, Fishes and Fisheries" (FFF) teacher workshop at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). (READ MORE)

Sea Lab Notes

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Dr. Ken Heck
  • Dr. Ken Heck recently published a paper that attracted much media attention "down under" and overseas (Verges, Adriana, et al. The tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems: climate- mediated changes in herbivory and community phase shifts. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2014, 281, 20140846, published 9 July 2014). (READ MORE)

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