Shark expert George Burgess to give keynote talk

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2016) - Some of the state's top marine scientists and area students will come together on Friday, Sept. 23, to share recent research about the state of Daytona State to host 2nd annual ShORE Symposiumthe Indian River Lagoon and propose management strategies to restore and protect the sensitive ecosystem during the 2nd annual ShORE Symposium hosted by Daytona State College's Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies (IMES) and the Marine Discovery Center.

The all-day event, free and open to the public, will take place at the Brannon Civic Center, 105 S. Riverside Dr., in New Smyrna Beach. All stakeholders who have an interest in restoring and preserving the integrity of the IRL system are especially encouraged to attend.

Chronic seagrass loss, brown tides and the deaths of dolphins, manatees and brown pelicans offer mounting evidence that the health of the lagoon is being compromised.

"The Indian River Lagoon and its drainage basin are unique ecosystems that provide crucial habitat for many species," said DSC professor and assistant chair of IMES, Dr. Debra Woodall. "It's not only environmentally significant, it's economically important to our area. ShORE 2016 will provide a forum to create a greater public awareness about the waterway and how the community can contribute to protecting this important ecosystem."

Among featured speakers, George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research and coordinator of museum operations at the Florida Museum of Natural History, will deliver the keynote talk. Dr. Brian LaPointe of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University will share his findings on the sources of the recent algal blooms that have stressed the IRL system.

Environmental scientists Lori Morris and Margi Lasi of the St. Johns River Water Management District also will present research on the recent algal blooms as well as on the health of IRL seagrass. Other speakers include Duane DeFreese, executive director of the IRL Council and Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, University of Central Florida biology professor Dr. Linda Walters, and Dr. Maia McGuire of the Northeast Florida Sea Grant program.

Presenters also include area high school students and college undergraduates. Among them are Josh Munsey of University High School in Orange City, who will speak about his shark conservation and tagging initiative and his research partner, DSC student Emily Reyes, who will present her findings on how water quality influences shark movement. DSC student Samantha Edel will present her research on nutrient and micro-plastic input into the IRL.

"Our goal is to engage all stakeholders who have a vested interest in the IRL because that's what it's going to take to save it," Woodall said. "It not only takes research such as what we will present at ShORE 2016, but also government agencies taking what they've learned from the research and implementing restoration projects, as well as the community understanding what role they play in all this and what they can do to make it better."

Although the event is free to the public, registration is encouraged. More information can be found at

Daytona State's Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies offers a two-year associate of science (AS) degree in environmental science technology, which prepares students for jobs paying an average $41,000 annually in a field the U.S. Department of Labor expects to expand nationwide by nearly 25 percent through 2020. And for those aiming for a bachelor's degree, the program has associate of arts (AA) university transfer tracks in marine science, marine biology, environmental science and ocean engineering.

The institute's field course offerings are valued by a growing list of universities that allow Woodall's AA graduates to seamlessly transfer as juniors into baccalaureate-level studies. Meanwhile, the two-year AS degree program has become a model for other colleges interested in establishing similar degree offerings.

For more information about IMES and the ShORE 2016 Symposium, call (386) 506-3765 or email