MDMR to Present Science Seminar: Gentle Giants of Mississippi and the Northern Gulf

12-15-CWS | March 15, 2012

BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) Shrimp and Crab Bureau, along with the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) will present a free seminar entitled “Gentle Giants of Mississippi and the Northern Gulf” March 22, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the first floor meeting room of the Bolton State Building, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi.


The free seminar will begin with a brief overview by NERR Manager David Ruple and continue with presentations on tarpon, whale sharks, sturgeon and manatees in Mississippi and the northern Gulf.


University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab (GCRL) Senior Scientist Jim Franks will give a presentation on tarpon, one of the most important game fish species in the Gulf of Mexico. Franks will discuss what important aspects of tarpon’s biology and habitat requirements have been revealed by research conducted by the GCRL and funded by the MDMR.


Jennifer McKinney of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will speak about the whale shark, the largest fish in the ocean. She will provide background information on the biology and ecology of the species, and later share highlights of research conducted in the northern Gulf, including the GCRL whale shark sighting survey, satellite tagging and large feeding aggregations.


GCRL Professor Mark Peterson will provide an overview of Gulf sturgeon, a threatened species, and discuss research from the Pascagoula River, associated areas of the Mississippi Sound and Pearl River and Florida populations.


Lastly, Allen Aven, a Ph.D. student from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), will present research on the distribution and ecology of the West Indian manatee. Aven will also share information on the habits of this fascinating animal that have been recently revealed by innovative research conducted by the DISL’s Manatee Sighting Network.


Everyone is welcome to attend. Please contact NERR Coastal Training Program Coordinator Avia Huisman at or 228-475-7047 if you have questions about this seminar.


The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at


Contact: Jennifer Goldman Leirer
Phone: 228-523-4101