Protecting Our Marine Mammals: Manatees, Dolphins and Whales
Gulf Shores Cultural Center, University of South Alabama, Gulf Coast Campus, Annual Distinguished Lecture Series
More than 50 local residents attended the USA Gulf Coast Campus Distinguished Lecture by CARMMHA Co-PI, Dr. Ruth H. Carmichael in January. Attendees learned about the threats to marine mammals in northern Gulf of Mexico waters and Dr. Carmichael’s marine mammal research program, including efforts of the CARMMHA team to understand health of bottlenose dolphins following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and DISL’s Manatee Sighting Network.
Dr. Carmichael explained that the Gulf of Mexico ranks in the top 25% globally for marine mammal diversity, yet Gulf animals remain among the least studied. The CARMMHA team and Dr. Carmichael are working to add important datasets to expand our knowledge of the health and status of these important populations in the Gulf.
“Sharing our findings with local residents is a key part of our research program. These opportunities to answer questions and interact with the public are a lot of fun and essential to raise public awareness about how to report stranded animals or harassment, reduce the likelihood of negative interactions between animals and people, and overall support conservation,” said Carmichael.
Dr. Carmichael is a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama. She is Founder and Director of DISL’s Manatee Sighting Network and the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network. She lives in Mobile, Alabama with her husband, son, two cats, and three turtles, who all enjoy life on the Gulf of Mexico coast.
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