Explore the ocean at Penn Vet symposium


Each year, millions of people enjoy vacations at the shore, dipping their toes in the surf and searching for shells half-buried in the sand. But most of these beach-goers fail to draw a connection between the place where they build sandcastles and the vast ecosystem that exists just beyond, in the ocean deep.

To help members of the Penn community and the general public “learn how humans use and abuse the ocean and what can be done to protect its inhabitants,” a group of students from the School of Veterinary Medicine is presenting the Ocean Explorers Symposium on Friday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Penn Vet’s Hill Pavilion Auditorium, 380 S. University Ave.

This is the third time that the symposium has been presented, with previous iterations organized in 2009 and 2011.

“We want to convey how multi-faceted the oceans are and the many ways in which humans can affect their health,” says Rachel Ruden, a second-year Penn Vet student and the event coordinator. “People may hear about oil spills and dolphin deaths, and feel like these things are happening far away and are disconnected from their own lives. With this event, we’re trying to bridge that gap.”

The symposium will feature three speakers who share an interest in marine creatures: Allen Place, a professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology; Joshua Drew, a coral reef researcher in Columbia University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; and Joy Reidenberg, a comparative anatomist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a regular contributor to the PBS program “Inside Nature’s Giants.”

In addition to giving her talk, Reidenberg will conclude the symposium by performing a necropsy on a porpoise cadaver donated from a local stranding network.

The event is free and open to the public. Hors d’oeuvres, donated by Otolith Sustainable Seafood, a wholesale seafood distributor that sources wild Alaskan fish to sell in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, will be served, along with dinner.

To RSVP for the Penn Vet Ocean Explorers Symposium, visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/5TB5FZV.

Originally published on October 10, 2013