Biddeford, Maine (PRWEB) September 19, 2013
Since opening its doors in 2001, the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center (MARC) has provided hands-on experience for nearly 1,000 students and volunteers and cutting-edge medical care for over 1,000 marine mammals and sea turtles found stranded along the New England coastline.
As part of the strategic plan for UNE’s Center of Excellence in Marine Sciences, the highly successful marine animal rehabilitation program is being developed into an integrated marine science academic program and has undergone a rebranding to reflect that – complete with a new name, the Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Program, and logo. The MARC moniker remains intact.
Barry A. Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., MSC director and chair of the UNE Department of Marine Sciences, says, "MARC is embarking on an exciting new era of development within UNE’s marine science academic programs. Students will be afforded even more opportunities for in-depth academic and policy studies as well as the care for these sentinel marine species while gaining valuable experiences relevant to many career paths. MARC will continue to provide hands-on learning opportunities and expand to incorporate community members through these new educational programs and outreach efforts."
MARC will expand operations to improve state-of-the-art care of marine mammals as well as upgrade its facilities specific to the rehabilitative care of endangered and threatened species of sea turtles. MARC’s goal for its animal patients is to return as many healthy animals back to their natural habitats and to study ways to improve techniques that will help improve those efforts.
To increase its marine conservation efforts, the MSC director has appointed research assistant professor Anna Bass, Ph.D., as the MARC scientific advisor to lead increased research efforts that will enhance MARC’s understanding of the animals it treats, the marine diseases and pathogens and human interactions affecting them, and their interactions in rapidly-changing ocean ecosystems.
MARC has also established a new mission statement. Kristen Patchett, the MARC program coordinator, says, "Our new mission statement reflects our commitment to marine students, ocean ecosystems, and to the animals we rehabilitate."
"It states: 'The Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Program at the University of New England's Marine Science Center is committed to the education of marine students and to the advancement of marine mammal and sea turtle science and conservation through conscientious rehabilitation and ethically-based research practices that lead to the release of individuals and maintenance of healthy populations. We aim to prepare the next generation of marine scientists for meaningful careers through hands-on learning and the promotion of a culture of marine environmental stewardship.' MARC’s new logo beautifully conveys that commitment,” Patchett adds.
MARC remains an integral member of the Northeast Regional Stranding Network and the Maine Strandings Collaborative, providing rehabilitation for marine animals that strand regionally. The strategic plan for the MSC emphasizes that the new MARC will provide greater opportunities to train the next generation of marine animal rehabilitators, conservationists, ecologists, and scientists.