Ocean Life Conference to be held in Bar Harbor

BAR HARBOR — Allied Whale and the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. are collaborating to host the 3rd annual regional Gulf of Maine and Ocean Life Conference at the Bar Harbor Club from Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20.

The conference will include 15 oral presentations over three days on subjects ranging from oceanography to whales and everything in between.

All talks on will take place in the McMurtry Room of the Bar Harbor Club. The first presentation, on Friday at 6:15 p.m. will be given by Toby Stephenson, a local naturalist and past director of the Bar Harbor Whale Museum. He will bring his vast knowledge of anatomy and articulation together in a program about marine mammal evolution.

For his senior project at College of the Atlantic he produced a life size model of ambulocetus, a missing link between land mammals and the ocean, also known as the swimming walking whale.

The symposium will feature talks from a variety of local organizations. Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch staff will talk about oceanography, the humpback and fin whale catalogs, the stranding program, sharks, ocean fish and sea turtles.

Linda Welch, research director of Petit Manan Island National Wildlife Refuge, will talk about seabirds and climate change. Shelley Lonergan, research coordinator of Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises, will speak on the marine mammals of Brier Island, Nova Scotia.

On Saturday morning, Sean Todd, director of Allied Whale, will speak about oceanography and Bay of Fundy tides, in a discussion about what makes this region so productive and unique.

This symposium was established through a grant from Maine Sea Grant to help improve the quality of education and networking with whale watch tours regionally and with Canadian companies throughout the Bay of Fundy.

The program is open to the public. Information: barharborwhales.com.

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