Linda Welch, research director of the Petit Manan Island National Wildlife Refuge, will talk about seabirds and climate change at the Gulf of Maine and Ocean Life Conference in Bar Harbor May 18-20. PHOTO COURTESY OF BAR HARBOR WHALE WATCH

Ocean life conference open to the public



BAR HARBOR — Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company are collaborating on the third annual regional Gulf of Maine and Ocean Life Conference set for May 18-20. The conference will include 15 presentations over three days on subjects ranging from oceanography to whales.

The talks will take place in the McMurtry Room of the Bar Harbor Club. On Friday at 6:15 p.m., Toby Stephenson, local naturalist and past director of the Bar Harbor Whale Museum, will give a talk about marine mammal evolution. Years ago, for his senior project at College of the Atlantic, he produced a life-sized model of ambulocetus, a missing link between land mammals and the ocean also known as “the swimming walking whale.”

The symposium will feature a variety of talks from local organizations. Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch staff will discuss oceanography, the humpback and fin whale catalogs, the stranding program, sharks, ocean fish and sea turtles.

Linda Welch, research director of the Petit Manan Island National Wildlife Refuge, will talk about seabirds and climate change. Shelley Lonergan, research coordinator of Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises, will speak about the marine mammals of Brier Island, Nova Scotia.

On Saturday morning, the director of Allied Whale will speak about the oceanography and tides of the Bay of Fundy in a discussion about what makes this region so productive and unique.

This symposium was established last year through a small grant provided by Maine Sea Grant to help improve the quality of education and networking with whale watch tours regionally and with Canadian companies throughout the Bay of Fundy.

The program is open to the public. Visit the education section of barharborwhales.com.