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Released September 26, 2003


BILOXI - Teachers from five states will converge on The University of Southern Mississippi's Scott Aquarium in Biloxi Wednesday, Oct. 1, to learn about the latest research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on strange environments in the Gulf of Mexico.

The one-day event is the first of two workshops at the Scott Aquarium that focus on recent NOAA expeditions to investigate unexplored deepwater habitats and living organisms of the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to learning about recent research results directly from scientists, teachers will experience new grade-level appropriate lesson plans and activities related to the expeditions. Participants will also become Ocean Exploration educators.

"Their schools will be designated Ocean Exploration schools, and their students will be able to interact via the Internet with researchers aboard NOAA vessels on the different expeditions," Dr. Shelia Brown said. Brown, scientist and project coordinator for the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence at the aquarium, is the workshop organizer.

"In this first workshop we will be looking at deep continental margin communities, including cold seeps where cold water rich in gas and oil comes out slowly from the seafloor. The seeps also release hydrogen sulfide, a compound toxic to most animal life but essential to the life of these communities," Brown said. "We will study the geology as well as the living organisms."

Brown said workshop participants - and their students - will also be able to tour the R/V Ronald H. Brown on Friday, Oct. 3. The 274-foot research vessel is the largest in the NOAA fleet and is scheduled to be in port at Gulfport following a cruise to explore deepwater coral habitats in the gulf.

The workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are free with preregistration to teachers of grades 5-12. The second workshop is scheduled for Nov. 13.

For more information or to register, contact Dr. Shelia Brown or Kay Baggett at (228) 374-5550 or e-mail

The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is part of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, a Southern Miss marine research, education and outreach enterprise in Ocean Springs.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM