Scientist speaks at Stetson on captive marine mammals

Dr. Naomi A. Rose, a marine mammal scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., delivered the Foreman Biodiversity Lecture at Stetson’s Gulfport campus on Sept. 29.

Dr. Naomi Rose spoke at Stetson's Foreman Biodiversity Lecture.

Dr. Naomi Rose spoke at Stetson’s Foreman Biodiversity Lecture.

Dr. Rose spoke on the plight of “Captive Marine Mammals: Beneath the Surface” and described how the natural history and biology of marine mammals make them uniquely unsuited to a life in captivity.

“It’s a pretty simple equation: large animals in small enclosures,” said Dr. Rose, who illustrated the impacts of captivity on marine mammals.

She described how limited space and social environment, poor water quality and behavioral restrictions all impact marine mammals in captivity. She also examined how captive marine mammals develop behavior problems that can result in injuries and even death to their handlers.

“I hope that as empathetic human beings that you can see that there’s a problem here,” Dr. Rose told the audience of law students and community members gathered to hear her talk.

Her presentation also addressed recent regulatory and legislative developments related to the public display of whales and dolphins.

Dr. Rose works on several campaigns and coalitions addressing problems associated with cetacean live capture, trade and captivity, both in the U.S. and abroad. She has been a member of the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee since 2000 and has worked in the marine mammal advocacy field for more than 20 years.

(L-R): Professor Lance Long, Dr. Naomi Rose and Professor Royal Gardner.

(L-R): Professor Lance Long, Dr. Naomi Rose and Professor Royal Gardner.

Upcoming lectures in this series on Stetson’s Gulfport campus include:

  • Nov. 2, 12 p.m., Great Hall, Robert Williams J.D. ’95, chief deputy counsel of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, presenting Working for the Government – One Lawyer’s Perspective on the Florida Environment and the Challenges Associated with Representing a State Agency;
  • Nov. 3, 12 p.m., Great Hall, Jeanne Christie, executive director of the Association of State Wetland Managers, presenting Are We There Yet? Trends in Protecting Wetlands and Biodiversity – A State-side View.

Stetson’s Foreman Biodiversity Lecture series is coordinated through the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, which is the recipient of the 2016 ABA Distinguished Achievement Award in Environmental Law and Policy.

To learn more about environmental law programming and the Institute at Stetson, visit