2013 Annual Conference

by Jason

2013 Annual Conference
Changing Environments: Old Florida, New Science

May 2-5, 2013
FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Fort Pierce, FL

Our 2013 Annual Conference will be held at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, FL from May 2-5, 2013.

If you are posting to Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, be sure to use the official hashtag for the conference to tag your posts: #fmsea13


Registration is open through RegOnline. Click the “register now” button below to be taken to the registration website. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged and will close on April 30. Onsite registration is $190 and we cannot guarantee tickets for Saturday evening event to these registrants. Please note that cancellations made after May 1 will result in a $25 processing fee.

Conference Program

You can download the Conference Program here. Please note that all conference participants will receive a hard copy of this program with their registration materials, however, you are encouraged to download the program for use on your mobile device.

Conference Hotel

Sandhurst Hotel & Suites
1230 Seaway Dr.
Hutchinson Island
Fort Pierce, Florida 34949

Room Rate: $65.00 plus tax
Phone: (866) 395-SAND (7263)

Please let hotel agent know you are attending the FMSEA Conference.

Keynote Speakers

Friday Evening Keynote

Dr. Candy Feller“As a child, I played in a swamp near my grandmother’s house,” says Dr. Candy Feller. “I still do the same thing today.” Dr. Feller, a senior ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland, spends much of her time perched in mangrove trees or sitting among their gnarled roots—counting, measuring, weighing, photographing and comparing the leaves and insects she finds. Feller has been studying mangroves for almost 20 years in Florida, Panama, Belize and Australia. As global temperatures rise, mangrove forests in the southeastern United States are pushing north. Dr. Feller is currently leading an effort to track more than 100 miles of Florida mangrove forests that are encroaching on salt marshes to the north. This research is one of 15 NASA-sponsored projects that will combine satellite data with field work to give scientists a bird’s-eye view of climate change.  Her goal is to better understand the effects a changing environment might have on the mangroves and, subsequently, all the organisms that depend on them as habitat. So far, she has learned that the nutrients that limit mangrove growth are site-specific, therefore uniform management measures might not be appropriate. Further experiments are slated to explore factors that influence recruitment of juvenile mangroves and the effects of rising sea level on nutrient cycling in mangrove ecosystems. By comparing current and future findings with collaborators across both the country and the globe, Dr. Feller hopes to provide the scientific and management communities a broader sense of the challenges and changes that mangroves face in the future.

Saturday Morning Keynote

NMEA President Craig StrangCraig Strang is Associate Director of Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is founding Director of MARE: Marine Activities, Resources & Education, a K-8 professional development and curriculum development program focused specifically on implementing school-wide marine science programs that increase learning and language acquisition for English Learners. He is the lead Principle Investigator of the multi-institution, NSF-funded Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence–California. He is the current President of the National Marine Educators Association.  He has co-led the Ocean Literacy Campaign in the US since 2003 resulting in the development of the Ocean Literacy Framework. He is co-author of three multi-volume sets of science & environmental education curriculum materials for grades K-8, and is PI of the new Ocean Sciences Curriculum Sequence. In addition to his work in ocean sciences education, Strang leads the Center for Leadership in Science Teaching, and is Principal Investigator of BaySci: The Bay Area Partnership for Elementary Science; an NSF-funded research study on the effectiveness of a practicum-based model of science professional development, and project to improve the quality of instruction in residential outdoor environmental education programs. He is the author of many articles, presentations and instructional materials, and before turning to science education full time did research on elephant seals, humpback whales and California sea lions.

Saturday Evening Keynote

Dr. Edith WidderEdith Widder is a deep-sea explorer and MacArthur Fellow who combines expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation with a commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation.  She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Tufts University and her MS in Biochemistry and PhD in Neurobiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Two years after completing her Ph.D., Dr. Widder became certified as a Scientific Research Pilot for Atmospheric Diving Systems.

A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), she has been a leader in helping to design and invent new submersible instrumentation, and equipment to enable unobtrusive deep-sea observations.  Her innovations have produced footage of rare sharks, jellyfish, and crustaceans, as well as led to the discovery of a new species of large squid and made the first ever recordings of the giant squid, Architeuthis, in its natural habitat.  In 2005, in order to help protect the ocean she loves, Widder co-founded the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, a not-for-profit dedicated to the study and protection of marine ecosystems and the species they sustain through development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action.

Field Experiences

Field experiences are either full day or half day. Transportation is not provided unless otherwise noted, however, carpooling is encouraged. Check the message board at registration for carpooling opportunities. Lunches are provided on full-day field trips only. Click here for the full list and descriptions in PDF format. Questions about field experiences? Contact Cristin Ryan at RyanC [at] si.edu.

Deep Sea Fishing
$60 per person, lunch included
The Fort Pierce Lady is a deep sea fishing party boat docked at Fisherman’s Wharf Marina at the mouth of the Fort Pierce Inlet. Enjoy complimentary fishing gear, tackle and bait on this spacious 70 foot vessel with enclosed salon, seating around the boat exterior and a large canopied upper deck. All participants must meet at the dock for check-in by 7:30am. Weather permitting. Lunch included.

Beachcombing Excursion (25 people)
$20 per person
Visit local beaches with Wrensong Science & Environment Education to discover a treasure trove of educational resources right at your toe-tips!  Learn to identify and interpret the mysterious items that wash up on Florida shores, and how to use them in the classroom.  This interactive excursion connects beachcombing with lessons in geography, oceanography, history, wildlife conservation, and botany.  Participants will receive an educator packet complete with beach scavenger hunts, lesson plans, activity guides and more!  Closed-toe shoes recommended. Optional discounted copies of beachcombing books available for purchase.

Pontoon Boat Tour and Marina Island Construction Project (35 people)
$25 per person
Climb aboard the “Gator” sightseeing vessel for a morning excursion with Audubon Warden and local wildlife expert Captain “Chop” Legé. The tour will depart from the Fort Pierce City Marina, which is heading up a unique marina expansion project that includes the construction of a chain of spoil islands ranging from 1/10th of an acre to more than 14 acres in size. Marina Manager Dean Kubitschek will accompany the trip to detail the island construction project and highlight restoration work on the islands including oyster reefs and mangrove planting. Weather permitting.

Kayaking (25 people)
$25 per person
Join local outfitter Lisa’s Kayaks on a guided tour of inshore waters surrounding the Fort Pierce Inlet. Wildlife sightings may include osprey, dolphins, fishes and manatees. All gear is included. Weather permitting.

Stand-Up Paddleboard Trip (7 people)
$35 per person
Join local outfitter Lisa’s Kayaks on a guided tour of inshore waters surrounding the Fort Pierce Inlet. All equipment is provided. No paddleboard experience is necessary. Weather permitting.

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center Tour and Snorkeling Trip
$40 per person, lunch included
Travel 30 minutes south of Fort Pierce to Stuart, home of the Florida Oceanographic  Coastal Center. Participants will enjoy activities at the Coastal Center including the interpretive stingray feeding program, sea turtle presentation and game fish feeding before heading on a five minute drive east to the famous Bathtub Beach. A Coastal Center guide will highlight the unique Sabellariid worm rock reef structure and local marine life at Bathtub before embarking on a shallow water snorkel to observe local marine organisms. Weather permitting. Lunch included. Participants must provide transportation and snorkel gear. A limited number of masks and snorkels will be available for check-out.

Marine Science Research in Fort Pierce
$45 per person, lunch included
Fort Pierce, Florida is home to a number of premiere scientific research institutions. Participants will enjoy a tour of three marine science facilities: The Ocean Research and Conservation Association (cofounded in 2004 by Dr. Edie Widder with a focus on developing innovative technologies to protect and restore our aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain), the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce (a field station of the National Museum of Natural History that has been serving Smithsonian scientists and the collaborators from around the world for over 40 years), and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (home to 160 scientists, engineers and support staff acting as leaders in ocean-related innovation, exploration, research, education and conservation). Due to the secure nature of these facilities, participants will be required to utilize provided transportation.


FMSEA 2013 CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS: Old Florida, New Science