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Our team of naturalists offer programs on a variety of topics - check out the daily themes here.
Given By: Dr. Jose Maria Eirin-Lopez, Assistant Professor of Biology in Florida International University’s Marine Sciences Program
Lecture Description: Marine organisms need to respond very rapidly to sharp environmental changes. While the ability to cope with stress depends largely on the information stored in their genes, the modulation of such information in response to environmental signals is governed by epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. Epigenetics is an exciting and relatively new discipline studying of the inheritance of modifications in the function of genes. The present talk aims to introduce audiences to a) the Epigenetics phenomenon, b) its relevance to study how marine organisms adapt to environmental changes and c) its potential application in pollution biomonitoring and conservation in the ocean.
Brief Bio: Dr. Eirin-Lopez earned his Ph.D. (Biology, 2005) at the University of A Coruna (Spain) and pursued postdoctoral training at the University of Victoria (Canada) working on chromatin structure and evolution. He joined Florida International University in August, 2013. The work by Dr. Eirin-Lopez has been recognized with multiple national and international awards, most notably a Marie Curie Fellowship (European Union, 2007), a Ramon y Cajal Fellowship (Spanish Government, 2009) and the Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Spanish Society of Evolutionary Biology (2011).
Given By: Dr. Jim Fourqurean, Director, Marine Education and Research Initiative at Florida International University and Professor at Large at the University of Western Australia in Perth
Lecture Description: Green turtle conservation measures over the last few decades have been successful in increasing the number of bay green sea turtles hatching and entering the ocean. But, the world these turtles will grow up in is very different than the one that existed even a century ago. Young turtles eventually settle in developmental habits in shallow coastal areas and their diet switches to seagrasses as they mature for 10-20 years before they are old enough to return to their breeding grounds. One of these developmental areas in Bermuda, where the seagrasses that support these young turtles are in rapid decline, driven by the grazing of the developing turtles. And some of the Bermudian turtles return to the home of their parents here in south Florida, where they graze on our seagrasses.
Brief Bio: Dr. Jim Fourqurean is the Principal Investigator responsible for Aquarius Reef Base at Florida International University. He participated on one of the first Aquarius missions in Florida in the early 1990's, and he has been studying the way coastal marine ecosystems function for over 30 years. He grew up in a military family, mainly in landlocked places, but he was turned on to the wonders and challenges of working in the oceans as a boy by the books, movies and television shows of Jacques Cousteau. While he was in high school, his family moved to Bermuda, where his love and fascination of tropical seas matured. His research has taken him from his home waters of south Florida to every ocean of the world.
Fourqurean's research is motivated by a desire to understand how man's activities influence the health of the coastal ocean and how the coastal ocean contributes to the sustainability of the planet. He lives in Miami with his wife, Dr. René Price, and his daughter Virginia (20) and sons Robbie (18) and Jimi (12).
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