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USA by the Bay - Eastern Shore Speaker Series (Feb. 1 Kickoff Event in Fairhope)

Join University of South Alabama President Jo Bonner, Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Andi Kent, and Director of the Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences Dr. Sean Powers for a special talk titled "South's Impact on the Upper Gulf Coast" to be held Thursday, Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the USA Baldwin County Campus (111 St. James Avenue, Fairhope, Alabama 36532). A reception will follow the event. Seating is limited. 

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The University of South Alabama's Eastern Shore Speaker Series will showcase a diverse range of lectures and performances by artists, scholars and industry experts at the USA Baldwin County Campus in Fairhope. President Jo Bonner and Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Andi Kent will welcome guests at the first speaker series event to be held Feb. 1, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. Director of the Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences Dr. Sean Powers will then speak about "South's Impact on the Upper Gulf Coast."

Alabama’s waterways house some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the U.S., and they are a major source of state revenue. It is estimated that Alabama’s water-based recreation industry brings in more than $1 billion a year for Alabama. Mobile is uniquely located on Mobile Bay at the foot of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Preserving this natural treasure and the marine life it sustains has long been recognized as a priority for the state. But how do we measure marine diversity and ecosystem sustainability when so much of it lies below the water? 

Dr. Powers and his research team have the answer. His research focuses on marine fish and invertebrates and their habitats to help direct conservation and restoration efforts of Alabama’s recreational and commercial fisheries. University of South Alabama researchers have pioneered the use of advanced technologies to help make direct observations of fish and invertebrates in their marine habitats. Underwater cameras, remotely operated vehicles, satellite tracking of fish, seafloor mapping and artificial intelligence are cost-effective methods used by Powers and his team to monitor marine life. 

Direct observation of Alabama’s marine life provides an accurate census of fish populations, which can help identify areas in need of conservation and restoration. Using these methods, he has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles and has been awarded over $46 million in grant funding for his work. And the conservation work of Dr. Powers doesn’t stop at research and data collection. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust Board. He advises several Gulf States, including Alabama, on fisheries management and conservation activities. And his work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, PBS, CNN and local media.  

As advocates for Alabama’s clean waters and marine habitats, Powers and his research team provide the critical information to help build sustainable solutions to maintain Alabama’s marine life.

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