November 19, 2018  

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USM Gulf Coast Library to Present Science Café on the Coast Feb. 20, “Mississippi Sound Dolphins, Current Research: Concerns and Barriers”

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Science Café on the Coast, hosted by The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Library, will present “Mississippi Sound Dolphins, Current Research: Concerns and Barriers” Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Gulf Coast Library on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

Jeffrey Siegel, executive director for the Mississippi Institute of Dolphin Sciences, will discuss how the 2010 BP oil spill led to a consortium of agencies and organizations that include the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Mote Marine Laboratory and Sea World, began working together in the northern Gulf of Mexico to assess dolphin health in the wake of the spill.

Compared to the health of dolphins under human care at aquariums and oceanariums, wild dolphin health is rarely monitored. The only routinely monitored wild dolphin population is near Tampa Bay, where wild dolphins are periodically captured, brought aboard a boat, measured and biological specimens collected before each dolphin is released. Currently, the only other method of wild dolphin health assessment occurs when dolphins become stranded on a beach and are reported to an appropriate agency.

Siegel has accumulated 35 years of experience in dolphin research, oceanarium management and dolphin interaction. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Coastal Science from Southern Miss. He was the first person in America to establish a wild dolphin interaction program, and later developed the first dolphin interaction program at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport.

Siegel participated with the rescue of the Marine Life Oceanarium dolphins after Hurricane Katrina, and was involved with the Katrina dolphin rehabilitation, transport and acclimation at their new home, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Siegel is currently administrator for the Mississippi Institute of Dolphin Science.

Science Café on the Coast is a collaboration of the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Library, Harrison County Library System, Long Beach Public Library, Hancock County Library System and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkinston. This event offers those with minimal background in science the chance to meet and discuss scientific issues in a relaxed social setting. Admission is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact Adrienne McPhaul at 228.214.3467, or adrienne.mcphaul@usm.edu.