Marine Mammal Convention Converges on Tampa

Not all marine wildlife is fat and happy
TAMPA (2011-11-28) -

This week, one of the biggest gatherings of marine scientists in the world will be held at the Tampa Convention Center. They'll examine threats to marine mammals around the world.

About 2,000 scientists are converging on Tampa to share ideas about everything from whales to polar bears and sea otters. And some of our Gulf marine wildlife - like dolphins and manatees - will also be on the agenda. It's part of the Society for Marine Mammalogy’s worldwide conference, held every two years.

Laura Engleby is marine mammal branch chief for NOAA Fisheries' regional office in St. Petersburg. She's also one of the conference organizers.

"They're basically going to be talking about their latest research, what they're discovering," says Engleby. "It includes cutting edge research, management, and it's an opportunity for people to present work that they're currently doing, work that they're coming up with, and a chance for them to network with their colleagues and share some exciting science."

The conference's theme is "Cumulative effects of threats to marine mammals: challenges to animals, scientists, and managers." Engleby says it will include a discussion Tuesday night of the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The conference will last through the end of the week.

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