Ecological Genomics and Reefs lecture at HBOI

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The last of the weekly Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute lectures for 2010 is on “Using Ecological Genomics to Measure the Impacts of Global Climate Change on Reef Building Corals” presented by Sara Edge, Ph.D.  The Wednesday, March 24 lectures are held at 4 and 7 p.m.  An opportunity to meet the speaker follows each presentation.  Light snacks are provided after the 4:00 lecture and an appetizer buffet and cash bar follow the 7:00 presentation. The lectures are open to the public, free of charge and reservations are not required.  Information: Call (772) 465-2400.

About the Speaker

Sara Edge is an Assistant Research Professor in Harbor Branch’s Robertson Coral Reef Program.  She attended the University of Georgia where she completed a B.S. in journalism and psychology before changing her life focus to study coral ecosystems.  Dr. Edge earned her Ph.D. at Georgia Institute of Technology in environmental biology, biochemistry, and chemical ecology.

Dr. Edge has nine years of experience in coral reef ecology, focusing on molecular diagnostics to identify factors causing global coral decline.  Her research integrates experimental and field monitoring approaches with advanced molecular techniques to understand the short- and long-term effects of stress and disease on coral physiology and ecology.  She has completed hundreds of dives around the world, but her research focuses primarily on coral reefs in the Bahamas, Florida, Fiji, and Bermuda.

About the Lecture

Global change is defined by a transformation that occurs on a worldwide scale or exhibits cumulative effects to have a worldwide impact.  Human activities are altering the composition of the atmosphere, affecting Earth’s global climate.  How will complex ecological communities and their environments respond to rapid changes in climate?  The impacts on marine ecosystems center around three major changes: 1) increased atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, 2) changes in ocean chemistry resulting in acidification, and 3) increased incidence of disease.  How can we predict the impacts these changes will have on reef building corals?

This lecture will provide unique perspectives on the consequences of climate change by focusing on the use of genetic and molecular technology, borrowed from the field of human diagnostics, to measure impacts these changes have on the physiological processes of corals.  Ultimately this can improve our ability to predict how corals will respond to the environmental challenges associated with a changing climate.  Benefits may include improved quality of ecosystem health and a better understanding of the environmental implications of various local and regional management strategies.

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