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Southern Association of
Marine Educators (SAME)

Making known the world of water, both fresh and salt.

SAME's 2008 Annual Conference
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Dauphin Island, AL

Our annual meeting November 14-16, 2008 was held at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in conjunction with the COSEE: Central Gulf of Mexico’s 2-Day workshop. Our speakers were Ms. Tami Wells, Marcus Drymon, and Dr. Sean Powers.

Ms. Wells’ topic of discussion was Ocean Observing Systems. She described the various techniques used by scientists to penetrate the ocean’s surface when searching for whales, as well as using dogs on small boats to “sniff out” whale poop to save money on flying miles and miles without seeing a whale in sight. It was interesting to hear about how the military is using dolphins and sea lions to scout out waterways for bombs before our ships enter a harbor, or to retrieve explosives and automated vehicles lost on the sea floor. The educators participated in a hands-on workshop presented by Ms. Tami Wells using colored light bulbs, colored cellophane, and jellybeans to show how wavelengths of light are absorbed or reflected at the ocean’s surface, with a multitude of lesson plans to take home. If anyone is interested in lessons on this topic, please contact me ( and I’ll get them to you.

Ms. Tami Wells presented about Ocean Observing Systems.

George Goodman participated in a hands-on activity.

Charlene Mauro viewed jelly-beans through colored
cellophane, while Tami McConnell held the light.

Marcus Drymon spoke about his long-line shark research that is taking place on the continental shelf on the Gulf of Mexico. He showed images demonstrating the process of tagging, measuring, weighing, identifying, and releasing sharks. Mr. Drymon showed multiple images of sharks common to the GOM and pointed out the identifying characteristics. It is amazing how similar these species are, with only a couple dots on their dorsal side or the lack of black on the tip of one fin to distinguish them. A hands-on activity taught by DISL educator Jenny Cook offered the educators information and classroom ideas on sharks’ senses.

Marcus Drymon presented on sharks.

Jenny Cook presented a hands-on lesson on “Fish Make Sense.”

Angela Capello searched for a magnetized ray
with a compass dressed up in a shark costume, while Jane
Putman and Dianne Lindstedt looked on.

Dr. Sean Powers tied sharks into the topic of the decline of fish populations. He discussed the causes of decline in the fisheries –overfishing, pollution, biological invasions, and habitat loss and degradation. He mentioned that there isn’t a long-term fishery data set, so they have gone to the local fishing rodeos along the Gulf Coast for comparisons to track the decline in fish numbers as well as the size of the “the big ones.”

The field trips of kayaking and the boat trip into Mobile Bay were cancelled due to 20+ mph winds! Instead we walked on Sand Island (which is now connected to Dauphin Island due to barrier island movement and storm activity) and a few were brave enough to venture into knee-deep water to seine. A few mojarra, mullet, a killifish, and a baby blue crab were pulled in. The wind was blustery, and we all witnessed sand movement in action, but the sunset was all worth it.

Eddie Bauer and Bethany Carlisle seined in the Gulf of Mexico.

Their big catch!

A blustery beach walk on Sand Island.

Our reward for braving the elements.

The evening ended with a seafood dinner and a social in the Estuarium. The silent auction was a roaring success, bringing in enough money to provide the registration fee for two K-12 classroom teachers to attend the National Marine Educators Association conference in Monterey Bay, CA June 29-July 3, 2009. Thank you to all who contributed, both auction items and money.

David Gray, George Goodman, Linda Girby, Edwin Mills, and Heidi Hitter enjoyed the Estuarium social/silent auction.

Silent auction socializing.

Scouting out the great items donated by the attendees.

Amy LeGaux proudly holding a horseshoe crab.

Dr. Bill Hamner studied moon jellies in the Estuarium.

Chris Verlinde and Carrie Dixon posing with an auction win.


Several things were accomplished at the business meeting Sunday morning. The bylaws were revised by the Bylaws Committee and approved by the members present. The revised bylaws will be added to the website. A $200 donation to the Hurricane Bowl, which is the regional division of the National Ocean Science Bowl, was approved. The Hurricane Bowl will take place on February 7, 2009 at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS. If you’d like to participate or volunteer to help, please contact Dr. Shelia Brown at .

Awards were presented to Jennifer “Murt” Conover for being an outstanding educator at LUMCON and Dr. Sharon Walker for being an outstanding resource to the SAME organization.

Jennifer “Murt” Conover and Dr. Sharon Walkeroon
jellies in the Estuarium.

President-Elect Chris Verlinde offered a proposal to have the SAME meeting at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville, FL on November 13-15, 2009. This will be the first time our conference will be held in Florida. Add these dates to your calendar and plan to attend. This meeting is going to be sponsored by COSEE: Central Gulf of Mexico. More information about this conference will be posted on the website at a later date.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Joan Turner

This site is hosted by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana Marine Education Resources Web site.