May 25, 2019  

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USM Hosts Annual Southern Association of Marine Laboratories Meeting in Ocean Springs

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Ocean Science and Engineering (SOSE) hosted this year’s Southern Association of Marine Laboratories’ (SAML) annual meeting May 5-6 at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s (GCRL) Marine Education Center (MEC) in Ocean Springs.

GCRL played host to the first ever SAML annual meeting in Dec. 1985 where then-acting GCRL Director Dr. Harold Howse was elected as the association’s founding president.

"GCRL has a strong connection to SAML, beyond that of just being a member laboratory,” said Dr. Read Hendon, SOSE Associate Director for GCRL and SAML treasurer. “Hosting the meeting this year feels like things have come full circle in a sense.“

Unlike many other professional associations, SAML - as a regional group - led to the creation of what became the parent entity, the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML) and thereafter the establishment of the other regional units of NAML. 

“Ultimately, GCRL's initiative to help form SAML has created a national network of marine laboratories that work together to achieve collective goals and advance marine research and education priorities," Dr. Hendon said.

This year’s meeting consisted of two days of meetings and presentations and included a joint workshop with the Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative (GOMURC) on mitigating disaster impacts on academic institutions in the Gulf of Mexico region.

“GOMURC and SAML teamed up to jointly discuss past storm impacts on coastal universities and laboratories, lessons learned, and ways to strengthen our academic network to be resilient and responsive to future large-scale natural disasters,” said Dr. Kelly Lucas, GOMURC Chair and SOSE’s Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center Director. “With the predicted increase in the number and severity of climate impacts on the Southeast Region, including hurricanes and flooding, learning from each other and finding ways to help each other before and after these events will make us all more resilient.”

SAML was formed for the purpose of uniting marine labs across the southeast. Members range geographically from coastal Maryland through Texas, including Bermuda. Members promote cooperation and effectiveness of member institutions in their work on marine and coastal resources and promote the importance of marine research and education to the economy and to society as a whole.

GOMURC is a multi-state university-based research consortia collaborating to promote scientific knowledge, workforce development, and understanding that informs natural resource management decisions at state, regional, national and international levels.