University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations


January 23, 2003

Mobile Jaycees Renew Support of USA Marine Sciences

MOBILE - The Mobile Jaycees today continued their support of the marine sciences department at the University of South Alabama.

The Jaycees, sponsors of the annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, presented a check for $10,000 to support research by USA's marine sciences graduate students. The Jaycees also awarded $1,500 for scholarships to be used to further support the students. The University currently enrolls 44 marine sciences graduate students; 19 are working toward a Ph.D., and 25 are in the master's degree program.

"The rodeo is about fishing and the excitement of the big catch, but it's equally about conservation and studying marine biology so that the rodeo will continue for future generations," Dr. Bob Shipp, USA marine sciences professor and chairman and ADSFR judge, said. "As a sporting event, it can't be beat," he added, "but it is also an incredibly valuable research opportunity." The ADSFR is the biggest and oldest fishing rodeo in the country.

Among the spectators and workers at the July 18-20 rodeo will be more than a dozen USA marine sciences students working behind the scenes, helping to dissect the fish and prepare the skeletal remains for the many interested requests they get from international marine researchers. Marine scientists from England, Germany and the University of Massachusetts will also be on hand. "This is incredible exposure for the students," Shipp said.

“The USA department of marine sciences continues to play a critical role in marine research in the Gulf of Mexico,” Andy Cook, ADSFR president, said. “We are committed to maintaining our close relationship with the University and rely on their specie recommendations in keeping the fish population strong.” To date, the Jaycees have donated more than $70,000 to the USA marine sciences program.

USA is also the lead university in the Alabama Center for Estuarine Studies, which is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and is dedicated to protecting and preserving the delicate estuary environment.

“We have a wonderful natural resource right in our backyard,” Shipp noted, “and we’re all working together to keep it safe and healthy.”

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Contact: Bob Lowry at 460-6211


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