George Liles
NOAA Fisheries
508 495-2378


June 30, 2005

NMFS Northeast Regional Office

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“Somebody Should Do Something”
Scientists Offer Public Talks on Endangered Species

Woods Hole, Mass. – The Woods Hole Science Aquarium (WHSA) will host a series of informal public talks on conservation biology on Wednesday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. throughout July in the Stephen H. Clark Conference Room in the aquarium. The series, “Endangered Species: Somebody Should Do Something,” will focus on work scientists are doing to save endangered or threatened species. The talks are sponsored jointly by NOAA Fisheries Service and the Marine Biological Laboratory.

The series will open with a July 6 presentation on sea turtles by WHSA veterinarian Dr. Rogers Williams. In recent years, the aquarium has rehabilitated and released Kemp’s ridley, green, and loggerhead turtles – three of the four threatened or endangered marine turtles found in New England waters. In 2005 the aquarium staff also cared for seven baby diamondback terrapins, turtles that live in ponds and streams and are listed as “threatened” in Massachusetts. The terrapins were released to the wild in mid-June.

The aquarium staff is currently caring for one Kemp’s ridley and one green turtle, both of which will be released later this summer.

Williams will talk about the threats the turtles face in the wild and the care stranded turtles receive before they are released. Following the talk, the public is invited to watch the aquarium staff feed the green turtle.

On July 13 Diane Borggaard will talk about the work NOAA Fisheries scientists are doing to conserve North Atlantic right whales, one of the most critically endangered large whales on Earth. Borggaard is the Large Whale Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Service in the Northeast US. She will explain the threats to right whale recovery and will describe the work the agency does to protect the remaining whales from collision with ships and entanglement in fishing gear.

On July 20 NOAA biologist John Kocik will talk about the effort to save Atlantic salmon from extinction in the eight U.S. rivers where these fish are known to be reproducing. The conservation efforts in 2005 include a project in which field biologists used nonlethal fire crackers, lasers, and boat engines to chase hungry cormorants away from stream and bays where young salmon were migrating out to sea.

The series will conclude July 27 with a talk on invasive species by Judith Pederson, director of the Sea Grant Center for Coastal Resources at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Invasive species are plants or animals that move into new areas and displace native species to the detriment of the local ecosystem.  They can also be plants are animals native to an area that become too pervasive and harm other species or habitat. In some areas, nonnative marine invaders now make up one-fifth of the total species present. Pederson will talk about a variety of invaders, including sea squirts, the most successful marine invaders in New England waters. She will describe efforts to prevent new invaders and to reduce the impact of invading species that have already settled in our waters.

“Somebody Should Do Something” is part of the WHSA’s Summer High School Intern Program, a four-year old program in which students who have finished 10th grade spend four-to-six weeks working and studying in the aquarium.

The aquarium is normally open in July from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Following the “Somebody Should Do Something” talks, the aquarium will remain open until 6 p.m. so the public can see exhibits featuring the animals discussed by the speakers.


NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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