Environmental Journal: URI lecture series focuses on ocean concerns

The state of the world’s oceans will be the focal point of a special lecture series that will be offered Tuesday nights starting Feb. 8 at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus.

The so-called 2011 Vetlesen Lectures by leading scientists and others will begin at 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday at Edwards Auditorium. The lectures will be streamed live on URI’s Vetlesen website.

Some of the scheduled speakers include Margaret Leinen, former dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, ocean explorer Bob Ballard, filmmaker Norbert Wu, senior scientist Christopher Reddy and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

The program is sponsored by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation and the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. Co-sponsors are the URI Coastal Institute and the URI Honors Program. Special sponsors include the URI College of Arts and Sciences, the URI Harrington School of Communications and Rhode Island Sea Grant.

Coordinators are Prof. Steven D’Hondt, of the Graduate School of Oceanography; Sunshine Menezes, executive director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting at GSO; GSO Prof. Arthur Spivack and Prof. Judith Swift, director of URI’s Coastal Institute.

The schedule is:

Feb. 8 — “Will Coral Reefs Disappear? Biology of Ocean Acidification,” by Anne Cohen, research scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Brad Seibel, a professor at URI; and Andrew Dickson, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Feb. 15 — “Should We Engineer the Climate?” by Leinen, who is now associate provost of marine and environmental initiatives at Florida Atlantic University and executive director of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Leinen has argued that the impacts of climate change will be so severe that research of climate engineering should be done.

March 1 — “Oceans and Human Health: The Urgent Need for Sustainable Resource Management,” by Ed Laws, professor at Louisiana State University. Laws argues that sustainable stewardship must be embraced to preserve the oceans as important resources and significant contributors to human health and quality of life.

March 8 — “Communicating Science: Lessons Learned from an Environmental Crisis,” by Reddy, a Cranston native and graduate of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Reddy and many other WHOI scientists studied the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He argues that scientists must do more to help the public understand science.

March 29 — “The Last Frontier,” by Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic who will share his passion for exploring the oceans’ depths to better understand and preserve them for future generations.

April 5 — “Exploring the World’s Notable and Threatened Underwater Habitats,” by Wu, whose films and photographs of the marine environment have been shown on PBS and in major museums. His work shows the deterioration of coral reefs and the collapse of fisheries around the world.

April 12 — “Measuring Change Across the Global Ocean,” by Deborah Kelley, a professor at the University of Washington and an expert on emerging technologies that will help examine changes in the oceans. She will describe the Ocean Observatories Initiative, a nationwide network of ocean sensors.

April 26 — “Steering a Course Toward National Ocean Policy,” by Senator Whitehouse, who will discuss the intersection of science and policy as well as President Obama’s recent executive order establishing a National Ocean Policy to ensure the protection, maintenance and restoration of the oceans and coastal ecosystems.

For more information go to www.uri.edu/vetlesen.

plord@projo.com

projo.com, 16 January 2011. Article.


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