Newsletter 2016-3 September 15,  2016



 
Living World Lectures for Fall 2016-2017
sponsored by Ecology and Evolution 
and Science Open Nights
 
Living World
Friday September 16, 2016
7:30 P.M. Earth and Space Sciences Building 001
Free parking in Lots west of building
 
Oysters: Can We Save Them? Can They Save Us?
 
Jeffrey Levinton
Distinguished Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University
 
Oysters live throughout the world, usually living in clusters on intertidal areas and in oyster reefs or mounds below the waterline. They secrete calcium carbonate shells which enclose a soft body whose gills pump water and capture enormous amounts of algae. Their abundance as oyster mounds probably absorbs wave shock and helps to protect shores. Their algal clearance rate contributes to water clarity, as planktonic algae are removed. The clarity allows light to reach seagrasses and prevents the algae from dying, decaying and resulting in a lack of dissolved oxygen. But oyster reefs are in trouble around the world owing to overexploitation by fishing and because of pollution.
 
 I will discuss the great loss of oysters and how we can restore reefs and might be able to substitute some of their ecosystem functioning by aquaculture approaches that can complement reef restoration. But I will also question how much oysters really benefit coastal ecosystems. Can they really clear out the water of modern coastal environments, which are enveloped in nutrients? Are oyster reefs, even if restored, capable of clearing our bays and harbors? Most important, are they really effective at absorbing wave shock or do they merely complement marsh systems which should be the real targets of restoration? Evidence new and old suggests that oysters are beneficial but they have limits that must be understood.
 
Jeffrey Levinton is a marine ecologist with broad experience on the ecology and feeding biology of marine bivalves. He has worked on oyster performance in this region and developed metrics of oyster clearance on local algae. He is author of several books, including the textbook "Marine Biology: Function, Ecology, Biodiversity" now being developed into a 5
th edition. He is webmaster of the Marine Biology Web Page, with career advice translated into many languages, now about at one million visits. He is Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University and is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Senior Scholar, was Chair of the Hudson River Foundation's Hudson River Fund, and is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
 
Living World web site: http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/marinebio/livingworld
 
OR google living world and stony brook

 
Living World
Friday October 14, 2016
7:30 P.M Earth and Space Sciences Building 001
Free parking in lots west of building
 
Mixing Fun and Science: Evolution of Alaskan Threespine Stickleback Fish
 
Michael A. Bell
Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University and
Research Associate
University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley


 
The  Threespine Stickleback fish has fascinated and perplexed biologists since the dawn of biological science. Dozens of stickleback species were named before it was realized that similar traits had evolved repeatedly in far-flung populations of this single species. The most distinctive populations are young and occur in regions that were covered by Ice Age glaciers only a few thousand years ago. In the late 1960s, research in British Columbia produced key insights into stickleback evolution and inspired my research.
 
I will review our field research, the environmental setting, and rapid evolution of Threespine Stickleback populations in lakes around Cook Inlet, Alaska. Our annual sampling program since 1990 has shown that many adaptations that have evolved since the last Ice Age could actually have evolved just decades after stickleback colonized fresh water. I will show the beauty of Alaska and combine this with a demonstration of the speed and power of evolution by natural selection.
 
Mike Bell was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Los Angeles, and came to Stony Brook University in 1978. He has been said to view evolutionary biology through "stickleback-tinted glasses," but it worked for him. His research combines paleontology, geographical variation, anatomy, development, genetics, and genomics. His "stickleback-tinted glasses" have yielded novel insights into evolutionary processes. This research and his co-edited book,
The Evolutionary Biology of the Threespine Stickleback, facilitated development of this species into the "biological supermodel" it is today. He was also the first biologist to study the evolution of stickleback populations from the Cook Inlet, Alaska and has attracted a dozen labs to do stickleback research there. Twice he co-organized the International Conference on Stickleback Behavior and Evolution and co-edited the Conference proceedings. Bell is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Research Associate at the University of California Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley.


Living World
 
Friday, November 11
 
ESS 001, 7:30 P.M.
 
Lesley Thorne
Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
 
Climate Impacts on North Pacific Albatrosses
 
Summary:
Animal movement plays a central role in the ability of species to respond to climate-driven environmental change and is a major driver of biological processes from individuals to ecosystems. In the context of climate change, animal movement can be influenced both by changes to the distribution of resources, and by direct effects of environmental factors on movement and energetic expenditure. Albatrosses are ideal study species for examining the impacts of both of these climate impacts due to their foraging strategy of exploiting ephemeral, widely separated prey patches using energetically efficient gliding flight. Telemetry and colony-based studies in the North Pacific Ocean have shown that El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions affect both foraging habitat and wind fields available to albatrosses, and that these factors combine to influence albatross movement and life history.
 
Bio:
Lesley Thorne is an Assistant Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. Lesley received a BSc at the University of Guelph in Canada and a PhD from Duke University. Lesley's work is broadly focused on ecological questions in pelagic systems, and much of her research focuses on understanding the biophysical and trophic interactions driving the habitat use and foraging behavior of different marine predators (primary marine mammals and seabirds). She has worked in a wide range of marine systems, including the Bay of Fundy, the South Atlantic Bight, the Caribbean and Sargasso Seas, the western Antarctic Peninsula, and the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
 
 

GIVING
Alumni and friends we hope you remember how important an early financial boost was in your graduate research. 
Please  donatedonate to the Lawrence Slobodkin Fund for Ecological Research.
Give to the George Williams Fund for Student Research. Donate Now
Give to Ecology and Evolution Award for Student Excellence. Donate Now

How much? Suggested donations. Full professors: >= $200, Associate Professors: >= $100, Assistant Professors and Postdocs: >= $50 Please get used to giving annually. We need your help. Thanks so much!!

Contacts: Chair Bob Thacker robert.thacker@stonybrook.edu, Graduate Program Director Stephen Baines, Stephen.Baines@Stonybrook.edu or
the Newsletter Editor, Jeff Levinton jeffrey.levinton@stonybrook.edu