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Suzanne Thurman
Suzanne Thurman is founder and director of the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Inc. (MERR).

June 22: Ocean Currents lecture

Photo by Kevin Fleming

Marine mammal, sea turtle rescues topic of next lecture in Lewes

The world of rescue and response for stranded sea mammals and turtles is the topic of the second installment of the University of Delaware School of Marine Science and Policy’s 2017 Ocean Currents Lecture series.

Suzanne Thurman, founder and director of the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Inc. (MERR), will discuss these beloved coastal inhabitants at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 22.

The lecture will take place in Room 104 of the Cannon Laboratory on UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus on Pilottown Road in Lewes.

Free and open to the public, seating for the lecture is available on a first come, first served basis. This lecture is appropriate for all age groups, including K-12 audiences.

MERR is the official stranding response organization for marine mammals and sea turtles in Delaware and is the leading authority on whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea turtles occurring along Delaware’s coast and inland waterways.

Delaware’s coastline boasts more than 36 different species of marine mammals and sea turtles annually, attracting an unusually wide diversity of species to its southern and northernmost ranges. Some are merely passing by, while others periodically use the local marine ecosystem to forage for food, give birth and raise their young.

Thurman will discuss species identification, provide insights into behavior and adaptations, and share conservation efforts for these animals, some of which are designated as threatened or endangered. She also will share information on MERR Institute’s role as Delaware’s official stranding response organization.

MERR has responded to nearly 2,300 animal strandings since its inception. In recent years, animal strandings have increased and the volunteer-based organization now responds to approximately 250-300 strandings annually.

Upcoming lectures

Additional Ocean Currents Lectures scheduled for this summer include:

• July 27: Danielle Dixson, “Ecology, Behavior and Conservation in Marine Ecosystems.”

• Aug. 24: Kathy Coyne and Tye Pettay, “Harmful Algal Blooms.”

Visit the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment’s event page for updates on dates and times. For further information, please call 302-645-4234.

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