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FAU Designs Mammal Necropsy Table Prototype to Assist Harbor Branch Researchers with Mammal Studies

                BOCA RATON, FL (January 11, 2011)  – Students from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and alumni from the College of Business have designed a hydraulic table prototype for marine mammal necropsies to benefit marine mammal researchers at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce.

Jason Immerblum and Armand Buono, engineering students in the College’s Innovation Leadership Honors Program, along with recent business graduates Robert Fox and Chris Rosser, collaborated on the project which will be built at Harbor Branch’s machine shop during the spring 2011 semester.

“The new marine mammal necropsy table will enhance examination capabilities and eliminate the fatigue factors of the various investigators who invest many hours in making determinations about a marine mammal’s life history and cause of death,” said Juli Goldstein, D.V.M., staff veterinarian and assistant research professor at Harbor Branch.

Harbor Branch’s researchers often conduct necropsies on various sea mammals, including sea otters, manatees, sea lions, dolphins and whales.  Dubbed “Whale of a Table” by the students, the device will allow for height adjustment and possible tilting which will make conducting necropsies significantly easier for the staff of the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation program at Harbor Branch. In addition, the new table will feature pull-out drawers and smaller tabletops to assist in photographing and measuring organs. 

Once the researchers have had a chance to use the 4-by-8-foot prototype, they can identify needed modifications, and the final necropsy table will be fabricated during the fall 2011 semester.  The original design was created in the entrepreneurship assistance project class taught by Jean McConnell, an adjunct professor in the College of Business.  The project will continue in the sustainable engineering and eco-design class taught by Chaouki Ghenai, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. 


About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit .

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