The Mitchell Center welcomes Dr. Christina Kamen to discuss mammal conservation and relationships - Maine Campus

The Mitchell Center welcomes Dr. Christina Kamen to discuss mammal conservation and relationships – Maine Campus

Dr. Kristina Kamen has an unbelievable data of the capabilities of the marine lifetime of the Gulf of Maine – however she’s not afraid to work with and admit others when she feels out of her depth.

In a free public debate on September 26, as a part of Senator George J. Mitchell’s dialogue collection on sustainability options, Kamen gave a lecture titled “Out of Our Depths: The Interdisciplinary Science of Marine Mammal Conservation.” Her presentation detailed her journey from exploring Boothbay Harbor as a baby to turning into an assistant professor of marine mammal sciences on the College of Maine. I additionally mentioned the journey of each grey seals and harbor seals over the previous 5 centuries.

“My purpose in talking right this moment is to share with you a few of my very own story,” Kamen stated. “[I will focus on] That second in my profession when I discovered myself out of my depth and in want of different issues past what I used to be skilled to do, and the importance of this second in time to my analysis profession and hopefully my contributions to marine mammal conservation.”

She mixed her private journey and profession story with the story of seal populations within the Gulf of Maine.

As a baby in Boothbay Harbor, Kamen noticed idyllic sightings of seals thriving in Maine waters till she moved to Maryland when she was 5. She then transferred to the College of Maryland for her undergraduate research, however a landlocked establishment with no marine science program prompted her to grab each off-campus alternative.

This led to Cammen coaching on the Baltimore Nationwide Aquarium, serving to to rehabilitate harbor seals stranded on the Maryland coast. She then earned a grasp’s diploma in zoology from the College of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK earlier than occurring to earn a Ph.D. From Duke College Naval Laboratory.

Returning to Maine in 2014 not solely helped Cammen construct relationships right here at UMaine, but in addition allowed her to additional her analysis on seal populations and marine mammal well being as an entire. She invited her viewers to work together whereas talking, instructing them to think about their favourite spot on the Maine coast—some stated Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, or Port Clyde. Others shared that they may see seals, proper whales, boats, and lobster traps.

“Think about you’re standing in the very same place 500 years in the past,” Kamen stated.

This led to the primary massive query in her presentation: How have seal populations within the Gulf of Maine modified over time?

To reply that query, Kamen searched the piles of Vogler’s library for historic archives and joined college students within the labs to achieve scholarly views. Kamen, a molecular ecologist herself, works intently with college students to uncover solutions to associated questions like this one.

“[Students are a] A big a part of the analysis I do now, Kamen defined.

She particularly referred to the work of Julia Sonarburg, Christina McCusker, and Amanda Cruz. These college students ethically collected DNA samples from seal populations and examined seal immune methods to maintain these populations secure.

The presentation was informative in regards to the alternatives for college kids at UMaine and the stamp of inhabitants historical past.

Kamen shared particulars of how the unique Maine tribes hunted seals to acquire meals and keep an ample inhabitants. Seals have been a significant meals supply for these tribes 500 years in the past, and have been included in Wabanaki dishes and of their oral accounts. European colonization led to the poaching of seals.

Within the fashionable period, the stability between conservation and overpopulation has been poor at finest. Between 1888 and 1962, it’s estimated that greater than 100,000 seals have been killed in Maine and Massachusetts. The Marine Mammal Safety Act has been instrumental in permitting harbor seal populations to re-grow. Grey seals skilled comparable exponential development in Canada. This results in post-bioethical restoration considerations, together with tips on how to handle the newly recovered species to keep away from overpopulation whereas sustaining a stability. That is the place Kamen says she feels out of her depth — therefore the significance of teamwork and analysis to seek out the most effective solutions.

Kamen credit the Marine Mammals of Maine for being the primary responders to stranded and struggling marine life. The UMaine archeology program labored intently with the Passamaquoddy tribe to entry seal fossils for genetic testing. The group has arrange scientific groups from varied establishments, and joined forces with the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assist defend present seal populations and gather information, guaranteeing now we have an correct historical past of inhabitants cycles.

Extra of Cammen’s work may be seen at CammenLab.org. Two of its present alumni, Julia Sonnarborg and Christina McCusker, are internet hosting a sustainability speak, scheduled for October 28.

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