Marine scientist Kristina Cammen will lead a presentation on pinniped populations in Maine rivers and coastal waterways in an online webinar hosted by Merryspring Nature Center Tuesday, Jan. 19 at noon.

Seals are a common sighting from Maine's coasts today, increasingly so in some areas as local populations of gray and harbor seals have grown over the past several decades.  Yet, this has not always been the case.

As recently as the 1990s, gray seals were hard to find in New England, though archaeological remains suggest their historical presence. Gray and harbor seal populations in New England share histories of depletion due to human exploitation — and subsequent recovery — following federal protections from hunting and harassment. Within this context, Cammen will share information on the biology, ecology, and health of our resident seal populations today, with a particular focus on some of our recent research on pinnipeds in the Penobscot River.

Cammen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine, where she teaches and conducts research in marine mammal ecology, population health, and conservation.

Her research program focuses on improving our understanding of marine mammal ecology and ocean health, and advancing the use of genomic techniques in conservation biology. She currently has active research projects investigating gray and harbor seals in the Gulf of Maine, particularly in relation to historical bottlenecks, recent recovery, and emerging diseases.

This talk is the first of Merryspring’s Online Winter Talk series. All Online Talks will be held as Zoom webinars. Access to a computer or smart device is required. All guests must request a meeting link by emailing to attend. Online Talks are open to everybody, free of charge.

Merryspring is located at the end of Conway Road, just off of Route 1 in Camden behind Hannaford Shopping Plaza. For more information on this program, contact or call 207-236-2239.