Annual Lecture Series 2006

June 12-15, 2006

Biological Invasions in the Sea: Science, History and Policy
James T. Carlton, Professor of Marine Sciences, Williams College; Director, Williams-MysticLiving organisms have moved around the planet for billions of years, but dispersal of species by humans, including the expansion of ocean traffic, has radically altered the world’s ecosystems with direct impacts on countless communities. Even with national and international regulation and management of ballast water, communicating the science and impacts of invasive species to the public remains a challenge.Carlton’s world renowned research on global marine invasions and extinctions is applied in his teaching at Williams College, writing and media appearances, and testifying on invasives legislation in Congress. He is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, founding Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Biological Invasions, Smithsonian Institution “Ocean Hero” and the first scientist to receive the federal government’s Interagency Recognition Award. (Lecture Summary)
A World Without Sharks: Consequences of Global Loss of Ocean Preditors
Ransom A. Myers, Killam Chair of Ocean Studies, Dalhousie UniversityIn the last five decades, the number of large marine fish predators has decreased by nearly 90 percent. The oceanic white tip shark, once thought to be the world’s most abundant large vertebrate, is now 300 times more scarce off the southern U.S. coast. Myers will address overfishing in the oceans and the ecological consequences of this phenomenal loss of predators.Myers’ current major research focuses on models of extinction in the marine environment and he is actively involved in developing methods for the optimal management of exploited populations. He has published over 100 refereed scientific publications in diverse fields of aquatic ecology. (Lecture Summary)
The Shifting Landscape of Environmental Reporting
Amanda Griscom Little, Columnist, Grist MagazineNowhere is change more constant than the environment. Web-based Grist Magazine columnist Little examines how trends in environmental reporting are shifting as the traditional gulf between industry and environmental groups transforms to a more cooperative relationship, where both seek solutions to larger world problems. From fisheries to energy, those who influence policy and public perception are ultimately challenged to change in a rapidly changing world.Little has reported on the environment for The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, Wired Magazine, and Rolling Stone. She is resident “Muckraker” for web-based Grist Magazine where her column deals with news in the beltway and beyond. (Lecture Summary)
Climate Change and the Ocean’s Role in the Future of the Planet
Thomas Delworth, Climate Dynamics and Prediction Group Leader, Princeton University/NOAAAs greenhouse gases increase, the world ocean absorbs more heat and carbon dioxide, thereby influencing climate change. While natural changes in the ocean-atmosphere system over the long term can contribute to large climate shifts, such as recent Atlantic hurricane activity or African rainfall, forced changes can also have important consequences for the planet.Delworth’s research work with NOAA deals with the role that the Atlantic Ocean plays in climate variability on a variety of time scales. He has served on numerous governmental committees and teams and authored scores of scientific articles on climate change. (Lecture Summary)
Science in the Political Arena
David Goldston, Chief of Majority Staff for the House Science Committee
Politicians, in general, and members of Congress, in particular, are increasingly focusing on questions of science and science policy. Although scientific research is viewed as an objective realm above politics, scientific debate is far more political. In what ways is science becoming politicized? Can scientists and politicians reshape the way science is used in guiding public policy?Golston is Staff Director for the House Committee on Science overseeing a committee with jurisdiction over most of the federal civilian research and development budgets, including programs run by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency. (Lecture Summary)

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