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Saturday, December 24th, 2005
10:38 am

Well, this organization seems to have fallen by the wayside. I have graduated, and I'm moving to a new state by the end of the month. If anyone is interested in maintaining this account, leave a comment here and I'll transfer all of the e-mail and passwords and such to you. If I don't get a response by the time I move, I plan on deactivating this account, and the member_post account.


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Saturday, September 3rd, 2005
10:25 am

It's the beginning of the fall sememster, and I wanted to know if anyone was still interested in this. I haven't heard from anyone regarding a meeting, or anything else for that matter. I hope we can get the ball rolling again soon. If anyone needs a refresher on how to post in the community, just leave a comment and your name. I set the community up to allow anonymous comments so you don't need an LJ account just for that.


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Wednesday, May 4th, 2005
4:44 pm - Dolphin count commitee and symposium results

Hi everyone! Hope you all are surviving your finals. The symposium went well, with a lot of very interesting presentations. The food was great too! The turnout was a little lighter than we had hoped, but that was probably due to the exam schedule and the fact that the drawbridge was up almost the entire symposium!
The dolphin count meeting went pretty well too. Turnout was low also, but again, that was probably due to the tough exam schedule that week. Michael Hunt was there however, and we made some good progress. Mr. Hunt and his team are planning to conduct a general wildlife census later this year using kayaks. The won't be counting animals then, but Mr. Hunt said he was very interested and that some of his people may want to participate. The scope of the count is still to be determined. To try and jump start things, we have reserved one of the A&M boats for two days during the summer. It is our hope to have enough people participate, to bring down the cost of gas per person to a resonable level.
So, who will be here this summer and would be interested in participating with the count? We would like to schedule a meeting before the end of this month, so please let us know and we'll get together!

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Friday, April 29th, 2005
2:37 pm

Hi, marine mammal folks...

This is a reminder that the symposium is this Satudray 9am-3:20pm CLB
100.... We are also having a TX student chapter group meeting at 4pm (same

I'll be there with the others on the planning committee at 8am, and anyone
else who is willing to show up early to help set up food, load
presentations, etc. would be greatly appreciated :)

Also, the planning committee invited all the speakers to have a cook-out
lunch at the bbq pits on campus. Everyone else in the group is welcome to
bring thier lunch and eat with us as well!

See ya Saturday,

Deborah Shelton

ps-- If you can't come to the meeting at 4pm and still want to be involved
with the group next year, let me know so that we have a good idea of how
many students there will be next year.

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Wednesday, April 20th, 2005
11:54 pm - TSMM Symposium

Texas Symposium of Marine Mammalogy
April 30, 2005 ● Pelican Island, Galveston ● CLB100

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome

9:10 – 9:30 Dr. Bernd Würsig
Dolphins, whales, people, and sounds

9:35 – 9:50 Brian Bloodworth
Feeding kinematics of dwarf and pygmy sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins

9:55 – 10:10 Brandon Bassett
Melon-headed whale rehabilitation: A case report

-----Short break; Refreshments in the vestibule.-------------------------------------------

10:30 – 10:50 Dr. Randall Davis
Diving behavior of Weddell seals

10:55 – 11:10 Mike Sorice
Human dimensions of marine mammal management

11:15 – 11:30 Katie Gorga
Application of Finscan to killer whales

11:35 – 11:50 Robin Vaughn
Feeding interactions between seabirds and marine mammals


1:15 – 1:35 Dr. Daniel Cowan
Volunteering in the Marine Mammal Stranding Network

1:40 – 1:55 Deborah Shelton
Synchronous behavior in male bottlenose dolphins

2:00 – 2:15 Jennifer Olsen
Conservation efforts for the North Atlantic Right Whale

-----Short break; Refreshments in the vestibule.------------------------------------------

2:30 – 2:50 Paula Moreno
Bottlenose dolphin distribution in Galveston Bay, TX

2:55 – 3:20 Heidi Pearson
Sea otter mating strategies

-----End of symposium ------------------------------------------------------------------------

*TX Student Ch. of SMM will meet in CLB 100 at 4:00. Those interested in joining are welcome.

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Monday, April 18th, 2005
10:52 pm - Email change

Marilyn Garrett's new email: philosphermg@yahoo.com

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Friday, April 15th, 2005
11:06 am

Hello, fellow marine mammal folks :)

Last weekend I met with the symposium planning committee in Galveston, and I
am writing on behalf of the committee to ask for your help and participation
in a few areas related to the upcoming symposium.

First, we need volunteers to offer out-of-towners a place to stay Friday and
possibly (for a few) Saturday night. Whatever you have to offer (floor,
couch, extra bed or futon) would be appreciated. Send me an email
(deshelton81@hotmail.com) if you are willing to help out with this, and I
will put you in touch with someone who needs a place to crash.

Second, money… Since we, as an organization have zero dollars, we had the
goal of planning this symposium without spending money, but still with making
it nice and worthwhile… So far, it has worked well—we are not paying the
speakers, for the venue, and the symposium committee has even covered the
cost of printing fliers and figured out a way to print at least 100 abstract
booklets without additional cost. However, there are two areas where it
looks like we could really benefit from contributions from the group. They
are: 1. A way to thank the invited speakers for their time and effort and 2.
Food and drink for symposium attendees.

For a “thank you” from the group to the invited speakers, the symposium
committee came up with the idea of treating them to lunch. We are looking
into places and into the possibility of getting a group or charitable
discount. But, overall we figure that about 10 of the speakers will be non-
group members (Sorry for group members who are speaking, we can’t afford to
treat you to lunch; you just get a “thank you”!) and we figure that it will
be around $12/person… so that is $120 total. When you think that speakers
often get paid for this and at least one of them is paying for gas to drive
from College Station, it seems the least we could do.

About food and drink for the attendees—as with everything, we are trying to
do as much as we can with as little money as possible. We decided that
people will be on their own for lunch, but we would like to provide snacks so
that people can mingle and eat before the talks start as well as during the
short breaks (there will be one in the morning and one in the afternoon).
We are hoping to be able to borrow tables, kitchenware, and a giant coffee-
maker from the University, though this is still very much up in the air, so
if anyone has other suggestions for how to get these materials for free, let
me know. For the actual food, we were planning on simply splitting up the
items among several people and buying and making everything… we can mix up
some frozen juice, hopefully make coffee, bake croissants from pre-made
dough, buy a bunch of fruit to put on a platter, etc…. this part will be
limited by the amount of money we, as a group, are willing to put into this.
It is hard to predict how many people will be coming, but I figure that
around $200 would be necessary to be able to offer people food and drink.

So….it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for—the math! It looks like we
could use about $320 total and there are 54 group members—that’s just under
$6/ person. Of course, any amount (more or less than that) that you are
willing and able to contribute would be appreciated and would help make this
symposium a successful event!

Please get in touch with Jennifer Olsen, the symposium coordinator for
Galveston, to make a donation. She works at the TAMUG library and will be
there these days and times:
Thursday Apr 14: 4-8pm
Sunday Apr 17: 7pm-12
Monday Apr 18: 5-9pm
Tuesday Apr 19: 9pm-1am
You can also drop off a donation at the library at other times; just put it
in an envelope addressed to Jennifer and have a library employee put it in
her box. If going to the TAMUG campus is not convenient for you, you can
contact Jennifer by email (jrolson1204@hotmail.com) or phone (409-599-9621)
to work something else out.
We will keep careful records of the money we get and how it is spent, and
that info will be available at our next meeting (just following the

Thanks in advance for your help!

--Deborah Shelton

PS—Don’t forget to check out the web forum
(www.livejournal.com/community/txscsmm) for updates and info related to the

(Posted from e-mail by Laia)

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2005
6:56 am - Symposium

Hey Guys
I just wanted to let you know that the symposium if up and on schedule (look for our fliers around campus) So far we have plenty of speakers booked and it should really be a good time. Don't forget to tell your friends to come, April 30th from 9am in CLB 100. We need some help from you guys though, we have a few out of town students coming so we need some volunteers to offer up a room, a bed, a couch, a floor, anything. We also are collecting charatable donations for food during the symposium, and we would really appreciate any of your help.
Cheers guys and I hope to see you there,

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Tuesday, April 5th, 2005
8:31 pm - April 30 meeting

Our next TSMM meeting is planned for April 30, at the end of the symposium. What topics would people like to see addressed at the meeting? Currently, ideas include:

1. Fundraising for 2005-2006: Do we want to do any? What types? What will funding priorities be?
2. Updates: These will likely include the web forum, web page (still in progress, although we will be able to use the SMM site for a web page), organization of the group, and discussion of what is working and not working in terms of the structure of the group.
3. How we can incorporate other regions of Texas in the group (with input from other regions of TX)?
4. Generating a broader contact list including students from other regions of Texas.
5. Discussing the symposium: do we want to turn this into an annual event?
6. An opportunity to get to know marine mammal students from other regions of Texas.

Let us know what you think. Thanks, Robin

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8:25 pm - Fall/Spring 2005-2006 meetings

Hi All,
I was thinking that now would be an excellent time to brainstorm on the format of meetings for next fall and spring. Do monthly meetings sound good? With a speaker at each meeting, maybe potluck refreshments, possibly a video at the end? Or, do we want to keep video nights separate? Would people prefer to have montly meetings, or instead to focus on an annual symposium and then have more informal get togethers such as video nights and activities for local Galveston students? I realize that we discussed these topics briefly in March, and that we can also discuss them further at the next meeting at the end of the symposium on April 30; however, this web forum seems like an excellent location for exchanging ideas on what you would like to get out of meetings next year. Let us know what you think. Thanks, Robin

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Thursday, March 31st, 2005
7:19 pm - Tutorial

There was only one response to my tutorial post. So there will be one tutorial help Friday night April 8th at 7:30. I'm not sure where, I'll talk to Gilbert about securing a room. I'm hoping for the computer lab in CLB. No one should be using it that late. I will also work on putting some flyers up around school announcing the tutorial. And I will hold the tutorial even if only one person shows.


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Thursday, March 24th, 2005
5:39 pm - Symposium

Hey everyone!
I just though I would let you know how the symposium planning is going. The symposium is set on April 30. from 9am-3pm (although it can change). We have contacted some of the professional speakers, and thus far we have two presenters, Dr. Wursig and Dr. Davis. Keep your eyes open for email from us soon through your neo accounts. If you have any questions or suggestions, just email me.
Jennifer Olson

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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005
11:31 pm - Research Position


DURATION: Aug. 2-Nov. 24, 2005

LOCATION: Inner Admiralty Bay, New Zealand. This is in the Marlborough
Sounds, on the north end of the south island.

SALARY: This is a volunteer internship position; grant funding will cover
your living expenses including food, boarding in a bungalow, and ancillary
costs. However, we do not have funding available for a salary or for
airfare. Currently, airfare is approximately $1400 round trip from Houston
through STA (Student Travel Agency). However, this may increase by summer.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The study will focus on the foraging ecology and
feeding interactions between dusky dolphins and Australasian gannets. From a
small research vessel, we will record data underwater and from the surface on
differences in feeding tactics used by dolphins and gannets when they feed
together compared to feeding only with conspecifics. Specifically, we will
look at differences in foraging efficiency, size of prey balls, length of
feeding bouts, feeding tactics, and numbers of feeding dolphins and gannets.
Dusky dolphins use a range of feeding tactics in different locations. In the
Inner Admiralty Bay, they appear to feed by cooperatively herding prey balls
towards the surface. Gannets appear to be adapted to take advantage of this
feeding tactic by their ability to feed by plunge diving to depth. This
study will increase our knowledge of costs and benefits of this feeding
relationship. It will also increase our understanding of feeding tactics
used by dusky dolphins in this shallow water habitat where they

PERSONNEL: This study is coordinated by Bernd Würsig through TAMUG.
Two of his graduate students, Robin Vaughn and Deborah Shelton,
will collect underwater data for this research project which will form the
basis of Vaughn's thesis. A recent graduate from Colorado, Lori Timm, will be
operating the research vessel and collecting minimal surface behavioral data.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: We are seeking a fourth research assistant to collect
surface behavioral data. This assistant will record data on rate of dives by
gannets as an indicator of feeding efficiency. They will also assist with
the following duties: behavioral data collection on groups of dusky dolphins
encountered on transect surveys, collecting environmental data, and operating
the research vessel. Additionally, this research assitant will help with
micellaneous duties including support duties for SCUBA divers. Finally, we
will all enter data at the end of each day. We anticipate collecting data daily,
weather permitting. However, there will also be opportunities for other
activities when visibility or seas prohibit data collection.

TO APPLY: If you are interested in applying for this position, I need to
receive the following information by April 18:
*A curriculum vitae, including information on employment, volunteer work,
research experience, extracurricular activities, awards, and any additional
helpful information.
*A letter of interest that includes why you are interested in the position.
*A brief statement of your ability to purchase a plane ticket at some point
before the start of the research project.
*Unofficial copies of university transcripts.
*Please mail to: Robin Vaughn, P.O. Box 3640, College Station, TX 77844

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3:08 pm - Updated Lists

Contact ListCollapse )

CommitteesCollapse )


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11:52 am - Web Forum Tutorial

Please comment with your name, and a suggested best day of the week for you. At the end of March I will schedule a day that best suits the most people. If need be I'll have more than one tutorial.


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Friday, March 11th, 2005
4:09 pm - educational videos

If anyone from the committee for the educational videos needs help with National Geographic, I just thought that I would let you know I have a subscription.


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12:22 pm

Texas SMM Update, 11 March 2005
(From now on, I’ll post information on the web forum, see below)

Just a few notes since the last meeting…first of all, thanks to Laia Robichaux, we have a fantastic web forum site set up. The web address for this is: www.livejournal.com/community/txscsmm; she created an account for students without a previous LJ affiliation, the user name for this is member_post and the password is cetacean. To post on the web forum, go to www.livejournal.com, sign in, then in the upper tool bar go to Journal – Update, type in the message (with your name), then, before you update, go to the bottom of the window and find the pull down menu for “post to” and change it to txscsmm. Then, click update. Laia is also looking into setting up a tutorial for those who have not used LJ before. Thanks, Laia!

The web forum seems like an ideal location to post committee updates, dates for meetings, etc. Once we get the webpage set up, we can redirect some of this information there (e.g., meeting dates). Ludi Rousseau is the graduate student contact person for the web page and web forum; she has been coordinating this tangent of the group, please contact her if you have any questions regarding the web page or forum.

The committee organizing the 30 April Symposium has also gotten off to a fantastic start. They met earlier this week to decide on speakers to invite, organization of the symposium, etc. They are next meeting the week after spring break, and will contact the additional committee members that were recently added to that committee for this meeting. The graduate student contact for this committee is Deborah Shelton; the undergraduate coordinator is Jennifer Olson. Many thanks to this committee for getting the ball rolling on the symposium, and for getting out speaker invitations, deciding on speakers, and beginning to brainstorm on the general structure for the symposium.

The educational videos and the bottlenose dolphin count committees will be most effective if each committee designates an undergraduate coordinator, who can then locate a room for the videos, advertise for the videos, locate videos (suggestions include the blue planet series, videos in MMRP labs, library videos such as National Geographic, etc.), organize refreshments (potlucks?), decide on a potential date and logistics for an annual bottlenose dolphin count, etc. It would be great to have at least one video night this spring (early April?) and to brainstorm on ideas for the bottlenose dolphin count this spring as well (for a potential count next winter). Could the undergraduate members of these committees coordinate an initial meeting date after spring break? Feel free to email me (Robin) if you have any questions on these topics. Also, for all committees, the web forum is a great place to touch base with the rest of the group on decisions, events, etc.

Our next group meeting date will be 30 April, after the symposium; we can vote on issues such as if we want to be an official university group, if we want to establish a fund raising committee, how frequently we want to have meetings (we plan to begin to have meetings on a regular basis this fall), and we also need to establish a meetings committee. We can also touch base on the status of the committees and their goals for the next year, and generate feedback on group organizational decisions, activities, etc. Feel free to email me (or do a web forum posting) if you have any suggestions of additional topics to cover in the next meeting.

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Wednesday, March 9th, 2005
11:26 am

The name has been corrected on the forum.


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Monday, March 7th, 2005
9:24 am

Summary of 4 March 2005 Organizational Meeting of the Texas Student Chapter of the Society of Marine Mammalogy

Thank you to all who either were able to attend our organizational meeting or who were unable to attend but who expressed interest via email. We created an initial contact list of all interested members and included this as an attachment. Additionally, for those who are interested in the main webpage for the Society of Marine Mammalogy (SMM), this site is: http://www.marinemammalogy.org. There was also interest in accessing the Marmam listserve site and archived information on marine mammals. The main Marmam site is: http://www.dal.ca/˜whitelab/marmam.htm; the site for archived resources is: http://www.escribe.com/science/marmam/archives. Individuals interested in being student members of the SMM can join this international professional society for $50. This includes a subscription to their quarterly journal, Marine Mammal Science. The SMM also hosts a biennial conference; this will be held in San Diego from 12-16 December 2005. Details on this conference can be found at the SMM website. However, to participate in activities of the Texas Student Chapter of the SMM, you do not need to formally join the SMM.

Our goal with this student chapter is to facilitate the formation of a student community interested in marine mammals and to facilitate the exchange of information on research, career development, and education. We hope that this will help students in the early stages of their careers to define and begin careers in their fields of interest and also that graduate students will benefit from the exchange of ideas.

To incorporate students from other regions in Texas, we plan to host a one-day symposium on Saturday, April 30, 2005, with the tentative objective of hosting an annual symposium. There was also an interest in monthly meetings on the Galveston campus to create a community of marine mammal students in the local region. A suggested format for these meetings was to have a presentation at each meeting, and to discuss potential activities, educational video nights, and/or field work possibilities.

To divide the work involved with organizing a student group, we created 5 committees from volunteers. Thanks to these folks for volunteering their time for organizational, website, fieldwork, and educational tasks. If students who were unable to attend this organizational meeting are interested in volunteering for any of these committees, please let us know.

The committee created to organize the 30 April 2005 Symposium will be involved with locating a room for the symposium, inviting guest speakers, organizing student presentations, advertising for the symposium, and organizing lodging options for students from other regions. The tentative plan is to have professional speakers from TAMUG, UT, NMFS, NOAA, and/or other organizations give 20 minute talks in the morning and to have a combination of graduate and undergraduate student talks in the afternoon. These could potentially be talks on research projects or topics of interest (e.g., a talk based on a literature review that could take the form of a proposed research project). A potluck buffet-style lunch hosted by the Galveston Student Group is also a possibility. Additionally, if students from other regions stayed with students from the Galveston area, it would also help reduce costs and potentially increase participation.

The committee created to help organize the web page adds a great deal of expertise, as does the committee created to organize a web forum. We plan to create a webpage with contact information, meeting/activities information, and additional topics. A web forum will allow us to have an online discussion list.

A committee was also formed to coordinate educational video nights. There is also a possibility these could be incorporated into monthly meetings. Finally, a committee was formed to coordinate a potential annual bottlenose dolphin count.

Currently, there are four graduate students coordinating the student chapter of the SMM: Heidi Pearson, Robin Vaughn, Deborah Shelton, and Ludi Rousseau. As we will be in the field at different times, we feel this breadth will give a continuity to the group. Heidi is currently in Galveston while Robin and Deborah are in Galveston infrequently. Next fall, Heidi and Ludi will coordinate Galveston activities. Our main focus this spring will be the symposium. There was also a great deal of interest in educational video nights. The following fall, we tentatively plan to have monthly meetings, more video nights, and a winter bottlenose dolphin count.

For students who volunteered for committees, thank you again, and we will contact committees soon via email to coordinate meetings/activities.

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Saturday, March 5th, 2005
11:55 am - Tutorial

I'm going to see about setting up a tutorial for those who aren't LJ savvy. If there's any intrest leave comments here.


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