Kids become ‘finbassadors’ at Coastal Studies Lab

Shelby Bessette holds up a shark during an educational session for children at the UTRGV Coastal Studies Lab Monday.
Pamela Cody | Courtesy photo

Special to the PRESS

In honor of Shark Week, Marine biologists from the UTRGV School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences (SEEMS), offered dissections to the public for the first time Monday evening at their Coastal Studies Lab in Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island.

Marine biologists Shelby Bessette and Heather Otte presided over a group of youngsters and a few adults, educating them about shark species that live ni the Gulf of Mexico. A PowerPoint presentation kicked off the festivities, illustrating the history of the different species, their habitats, and interesting facts about their sense of smell, hearing, skeletal structure and teeth.

“We figured in light of Shark Week we’d invite everyone to participate, whether you’re local or on vacation,” Bessette said. The program encourages kids to become shark “finbassadors” — an individual who advocates on behalf of sharks and takes action to support shark conservation.

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