FORT PIERCE ― Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has posted a virtual library of incredible educational tools on its website.

The videos are designed for students and teachers, but they are fascinating for ocean lovers of all ages.

“Although the recent precautions set by the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many organizations like ours to close their doors, we still strive to be a STEM education resource for your family and our community,” said Harbor Branch Associate Director of Media Relations Lynda Rysavy.

The online programs include lectures, presentations by marine scientists, and activities for children.

The Virtual Club is a series of videos for children produced in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County. A Harbor Branch scientist shares fun facts and stories about ocean animals. The first two episodes are about dolphins, sharks, rays, and the Indian River Lagoon. The next two episodes will be about manatees and sea turtles.

A new live Wednesday webcast series called Behind the Scenes features Harbor Branch scientists answering questions about their specialties. The webcasts remain on the website for later viewing. The first featured Steve Burton, Director of Stranding and Population Assessment at FAU’s Harbor Branch. His primary responsibility is to keep the rescue team staff and volunteers ready to respond to marine mammal emergencies.

The second Behind the Scenes webcast features Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D., an ocean explorer and marine biotechnologist. Dr. Pomponi directed the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology at FAU Harbor Branch from 2009-2018.

Harbor Branch has created three sets of lesson plans for first, third and fifth grade students about the North Atlantic right whale, the rarest of the great whales, with less than 500 left in the wild. Each lesson includes a video, an illustrated storybook and a set of activity sheets.

The popular John & Barbara Ferrera Ocean Science Lecture Series provides an overview of FAU Harbor Branch’s most recent discoveries directly from the scientists and engineers. These are the lectures that are held during normal times in the auditorium of the Johnson Education Center at FAU’s Harbor Branch campus. Fortunately the free video archive includes more than 100 presentations from the past ten years.

Prior lectures you can watch online include “Discovering New Chemicals from the Sea: Can We Address the Antibiotic-Resistance Crisis?”; “Plastic Marine Debris and the Ocean Carbon Cycle”; “Natural Products: Double Edged Swords?”; “Ocean Entrées: Eat your Sea Vegetables!”; “Using Remote Sensing Technologies to Detect Harmful Algal Blooms”; and “Integrated Approaches to Addressing Harmful Algal Blooms.”

Most are presented by Harbor Branch scientists, some by invited scientists from other institutions.

To access the entire Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute virtual resource library, visit

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