Two-day event to examine environmental status of Gulf

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Nov 02,  2006

The Alabama-Mississippi Bays and Bayous Symposium will be held Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile, Ala.

The two-day event will feature scientific presentations on water quality, living resources, habitat management, natural hazards and coastal development in Alabama and Mississippi.

A highlight will be Sylvia Earle’s keynote address, “Sea Change,” on Nov. 28. She will examine the impacts humans are having on the world oceans, from heightened mercury levels in fish to tsunami devastation in coastal areas once protected by corals and mangroves. Earle, a renowned underwater explorer and scientist, has been an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society since 1998, the year Time magazine named her its first "Hero for the Planet."

The symposium is designed to attract scientists, resource managers and the general public for four informative sessions on current environmental status and trends in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the impacts of human activity on coastal conditions. Organizers say the dialog between these groups will increase the level of knowledge and awareness regarding the challenges facing the coastal zone. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Alabama Center for Estuarine Studies and The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory are hosting the event.

"Over 80 high-quality abstracts were received, abstracts that cover critical issues for residents of coastal Alabama and Mississippi," said LaDon Swann, director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. "The scientific and applied information that will be available can be used by scientists, policy-makers and citizens."

Three other distinguished guests will speak during the symposium. Orrin Pilkey, Professor Emeritus at Duke University and a noted coastal geomorphologist will speak at a Nov. 28 social event. Nancy Rabalais, director of the Louisiana University Marine Consortium and a nationally known expert on hypoxia (oxygen-depleted waters), also will speak that day. Frank Muller-Karger, director of the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing at the University of South Florida and one of President George W. Bush's appointees on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, will speak Nov. 29.

This will be the first program directed at a better understanding of the Alabama and Mississippi coastal environment. There is still time to register for the symposium, and the public is invited. For more information or to register, go to: or contact Tiffany England at (251) 431-6409 or Shonda Borden at (251) 438-5690.


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