Seaside Chats

Sun setting over the bay side of Galveston Island with a small marina to the left and houses and business to the right
Sunset over Offats Bayou looking out toward Galveston Bay (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Seaside Chats are informal presentations about ocean topics associated with Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and the Gulf of Mexico. These presentations take place on Wednesday evenings in February, from 6:30-7:30 p.m., out in the Galveston community. Our host site changes from year to year.

  • Presentations are free and last for one hour. Our speakers include sanctuary staff and guests from partner organizations.
  • Anyone is welcome to attend, but presentation style is most suited to those in middle school and above. No need to RSVP, just drop in and enjoy.
  • We are happy to provide continuing education credit for teachers and attendance verification for students and Master Naturalists.

For more information, contact Kelly.Drinnen@noaa.gov

Seaside Chats 2017

This year, our Seaside Chats will take place at Sea Star Base Galveston (new name, same place as last year) with a focus on FGBNMS's 25th anniversary. If you can't join us in person, we will also have the presentations available live, via online webinars.

From sanctuary history to iconic wildlife such as manta rays and spawning corals, we hope you'll help us kick off this celebratory year!

Download a Seaside Chats 2017 flyer (512kb pdf)

Boats lined up at the docks behind Sea Star Base Galveston

2017

6:30-7:30 p.m. at Sea Star Base Galveston
7509 Broadway, Galveston, TX 77554

February 8 - Manta Rays and More!
presented by Marissa Nuttall, FGBNMS

February 15 - Celebrating 25 Years!
presented by G.P. Schmahl, FGBNMS

February 22 - Reef Romance
presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

2017 Seaside Chats

 

Presentations

  • 2/8 Discover what we know about manta rays, whale sharks and other big visitors to the sanctuary.
  • Missed it? Watch the archived webinar

  • 2/15 See how far we've come from our humble beginnings in 1992 to a sanctuary on the verge of expansion in 2017. Afterward, enjoy a tour of our research vessel MANTA, weather permitting.
  • Can't attend in person? Follow along via webinar. (Note: webinars have not been working well on Internet Explorer, so please try another web browser)

  • 2/22 Explore the mysteries of underwater romance and reproduction on the reef.
  • Can't attend in person? Follow along via webinar. (Note: webinars have not been working well on Internet Explorer, so please try another web browser)

    Past Chats

    Seaside Chats began in 2012 and have been offered every February since. Topics range from sanctuary wildlife and tools for exploration, to sanctuary expansion and shipwrecks.

    A brief summary of our previous Seaside Chats is provided below:

    Michelle Johnston holding up a headless lionfish carcass
while a student helper holds up the lionfish head

    2016

    at Sea Scout Base Galveston

    February 10 - Managing Invasive Lionfish
    presented by Michelle Johnston, FGBNMS

    February 17 - Why Do Whales & Dolphins Strand?
    presented by Heidi Whitehead, TMMSN

    February 24 - What's News at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary?
    presented by G.P. Schmahl, FGBNMS

    Guests seated in rows of chairs in front of a presentation screen
in the lower level of the Moody Gardens Aquarium

    2015

    at Moody Gardens Aquarium

    February 4 - Taking the Reef on the Road
    presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

    February 11 - What's In a Name?
    presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

    February 18 - Expanding Sanctuary Horizons
    presented by G.P. Schmahl, FGBNMS

    2016 Seaside Chats

     

    Presentations

  • 2/10 Discussion of the invasive lionfish problem and what's being done about it, followed by a lionfish dissection demonstration
  • 2/17 Discussion of why marine mammals strand and updates on the recent whale stranding in Galveston. Marine mammal artifacts display provided by Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network
  • 2/24 Presentation about the latest activities undertaken by sanctuary staff and the upcoming proposal for sanctuary expansion. Tours of Research Vessel MANTA conducted after the presentation.
  •  

    Images

    2/10

    Sunset view of Offats Bayou from the Commodore Room at Sea Scout Base Galveston
    Sunset view of Offats Bayou from the Commodore Room at Sea Scout Base Galveston
    Michelle talking while displaying a cut open lionfish to the camera so that it is displayed on the screen behind her
    Michelle Johnston explaining her lionfish dissection
    Student dissection helper posing with Michelle and a dissected lionfish.
    A student posing with Michelle after helping with the dissection

    2/17

    View of Moody Gardens across the bayou from Sea Scout Base Galveston
    View of Moody Gardens across the bayou from Sea Scout Base Galveston
    Woman speaking at podium
    Heidi Whitehead answering questions after her chat
    Woman looking at a table full of whale and dolphin artifacts
    A participant examing marine mammal artifacts after the presentation

    2/24

    View of boats at the docks in front of Sea Scout Base Galveston
    R/V MANTA docked in front of Sea Scout Base Galveston before the presentation
    Man speaking from podium with American flag in the background
    Sanctuary Superintendent G.P. Schmahl talking about the latest news from FGBNMS
    Group of people standing in semi-circle in front of man speaking on the back deck of a boat
    NOAA Corps officer Dustin Picard leading a tour on R/V MANTA after the presentation

    2015 Seaside Chats

     

    Presentations

  • 2/4 Introduction to the new Reef on the Road Traveling Exhibit, including a visit with exhibit while it is on display at the Moody Gardens Aquarium
  • 2/11 Discussion of ocean exploration around the various banks of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and how the origins of the bank names.
  • 2/18 Discussion of the recently released Notice of Intent for Sanctuary Expansion.
  •  

    Images

    2/4

    View from behind guests seated watching a presentation in an aquarium lobby with blue neon lighting overhead
    The presentation area was set up in the lower level of the Aquarium near the traveling exhibit
    Side view of Kelly holding a microphone
    Kelly Drinnen presenting
    Guests gathered around an exhibit piece labeled Flourishing But Fragile
    Presentation guests exploring the Reef on the Road exhibit

    2/11

    View from behind seated guests watching Kelly present
    The South Pacific aquarium exhibit and a skeleton of a sea lion provided additional backdrop for the Chats
    Students and other guests gathered around Kelly and her computer
    After the presentation, Kelly signed documents for students and Master Naturalists to receive credit for attending

    2/24

    A large shark model suspended over rows of empty seats set up for a presentation
    A large megamouth shark model suspended over the presentation area added to the atmosphere of the Chats
    An open laptop computer sitting on a small table near a Flower Garden Banks banner and a small sargassum aquarium exhibit
    A computer station was set up for guests who wanted to submit public comments about the Notice of Intent for Expansion.
    Michelle speaking while divers demonstrate in the aquarium exhibit behind her

    2014

    at Moody Gardens Aquarium

    February 5 - What are National Marine Sanctuaries?
    presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

    February 12 - Deep Water Tools & Technology
    presented by Emma Hickerson, FGBNMS

    February 19 - Shallow Water Tools & Technology
    presented by Michelle Johnston, FGBNMS

    February 26 - Remotely Tracking Sealife
    presented by David Wells, TAMUG

    Emma presenting from the front of room where guests are seated
in front of a presentation screen

    2013

    at Texas Seaport Museum

    January 30 - Coral Reefs of Texas
    presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

    February 6 - Sanctuary Science
    presented by Emma Hickerson, FGBNMS

    February 13 - Expanding Sanctuary Horizons
    presented by G.P. Schmahl, FGBNMS

    February 20 - Shipwrecks of Galveston
    presented by Amy Borgens, THC

    February 27 - Fish Do the Strangest Things
    presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

    2014 Seaside Chats

     

    Presentations

  • 2/5 Background on the National Marine Sanctuary System and each of the sites within it.
  • 2/12 Discussion of the tools and technology used for exploration in deep areas around the sanctuary, beyond scuba limits, including a display of ROV technology used by NOAA.
  • 2/19 Discussion of the tools and technology used along with scuba for exploration in shallow areas around the sanctuary. NOAA divers in the South Pacific exhibit demonstrated use of tools throughout the presentation.
  • 2/26 Discussion of techniques and technology used for tracking sharks and rays in the Gulf of Mexico.
  •  

    Images

    2/5

    Rear view of people sitting in rows of chairs under three tiers of green and blue wavy neon lights
    The presentation area was located in the upper level of the Aquarium near the South Pacific exhibit for three of the four weeks
    A table top display about Flower Garden Banks NMS
    A table top display in the upper atrium helped promote the talks and provide information about the sanctuary throughout the entire month

    2/12

    A small Remotely Operated Vehicle sitting ona table with cable connecting it to a display screen. A poster on an easel to the left shows another type of ROV. A woman and a man stand to either side of the display.
    Ron Hill, from NOAA Fisheries, set up a small ROV that he uses for research in the Caribbean, while Emma Hickerson used a poster image to talk to guests about the new Mohawk ROV being used by sanctuary staff

    2/19

    Female speaker standing in front of an aquarium panel with her presentation on a screen to the right
    Michelle made use of both a slide show and scuba divers in the nearby South Pacific exhibit to illustrate her talk
    Woman holding a square made of white pvc pipe with a grid of string stretched across it while the speaker to the right talks about it
    Michelle explaining how a quadrat is used for research as Kelly holds one up for the audience to see
    Divers in scuba gear inside a large aquarium demonstrating what is illustrated on a nearby projection screen
    NOAA divers demonstrate how they measure coral colony size while Michelle talks about it in her presentation
    Two children sitting in front of an aquarium panel as a diver inside the tank interacts with them
    Children were particularly captivated by the diver demonstration

    2/26

    A man giving a presentation on a screen set up in front of a tropical aquarium exhibit
    David Wells talked about his work tagging sharks

    2013 Seaside Chats

     

    Presentations

  • 1/30 Introduction to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
  • 2/6 Discussion of the various science activities taking place in the sanctuary.
  • 2/13 Discussion of the Sanctuary Expansion Action Plan.
  • 2/20 A look at various shipwrecks in the Galveston area, including recent mapping of the USS Hatteras wreck.
  • 2/27 Discussion of unusual behaviors and life cycles of sanctuary fish species.
  •  

    Images

    1/30

    Rear view of rows of chairs in front of a presentation screen
    Seaside Chats were held in the Seaport Museum's theater area after regular operating hours
    A table top display about Flower Garden Banks NMS
    A table top display in the theater helped promote the talks and provide information about the sanctuary throughout the entire month

    2/6

    View from the back of guests seated in chairs in front of a large presentation screen with a female speaker off to the right
    Emma talked about the various types of research and monitoring taking place in the sanctuary

    2/13

    Looking over the shoulders of seated guests at a large screen showing a slide about salt dome features with a person speaking off to the right
    G.P. Schmahl, Sanctuary Superintendent, talked about all of the salt dome formations (banks) off the Texas/Louisiana coast as part of his Chat

    2/20

    A woman giving a talk with an image of a shipwreck up on the large screen to the left
    Amy Borgens, Texas State Marine Archeologist, talked about shiprwrecks of the USS Westfield and USS Hatteras, among others

    2/27

    Screen view of introductory slide showing colorful reef fish around the title Fish Do The Strangest Things
    Kelly's talk featured the changing colors and sexes of tropical reef fish in the sanctuary

     

    Guests seated in chairs throughout the gift shop of
Jimmy's on the Pier while Kelly Drinnen speaks

    2012

    at Galveston Fishing Pier

    February 8 - Coral Reefs of Texas
    presented by Kelly Drinnen, FGBNMS

    February 15 - Romance on the Reef
    presented by Shelley DuPuy, FGBNMS

    February 20 - The New Krewe in Town
    presented by Michelle Johnston, FGBNMS

    February 27 - A Diver's Eye View
    presented by Jesse Cancelmo

    March 7 - Manta Rays, Whale Sharks & Turtles, Oh My!
    presented by Marissa Nuttall, FGBNMS

    2012 Seaside Chats

     

    Presentations

  • 2/8 Introduction to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
  • 2/15 Discussion of the the annual mass spawning of corals in the sanctuary.
  • 2/22 Discussion of new species in the sanctuary, both good and bad, including the invasive lionfish.
  • 2/29 Diver/photographer Jesse Cancelmo's underwater perspective on the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
  • 3/7 Discussion of research in the sanctuary focused on manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles.
  •  

    Images

    2/8

    View of the Galveston Fishing Pier red building with white trim and the pier beyond it
    Galveston Fishing Pier was home to the first Seaside Chat series
    People sitting in chairs scattered around the fishing pier gift shop listening to a woman speaking on the right
    The Chats were held amid the merchandise in the gift shop of the Galveston Fishing Pier
    G.P. Schmahl in a suit coat and slacks at the Chat venue
    Sanctuary Superintendent G.P. Schmahl welcomed everyone to the first Chat and introduced the staff and advisory council members in attendance

    2/15

    View of the presentation area in the Galveston Fishing Pier gift shop with two presentation screens set up on either side of a central merchandise display
    Starting with the second Chat, presentations were presented on two screens so that everyone could see

    2/22

    Side view of Michelle presenting to a seated audience in a gift shop
    Michelle Johnston was our third presenter, focusing on the new Mardi Gras Wrasse and invasive lionfish

    2/29

    Jesse Cancelmos standing next to a presentation screen and holding a microphone
    Jesse Cancelmo shared his experiences diving in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico by sharing photos from his adventures

    3/7

    Jesse Cancelmos talking into a microphone and pointing to the right
    Marissa Nuttall wrapped up our first series talking about the biggest creatures in the sanctuary