SeaLife Society hosts renowned scientist for talk on ocean health

Our oceans go sour – what does it mean for us? While “climate change” and “global warming” are now familiar terms their far reaching consequences are still being learned. “Ocean acidification” has not yet been headline news but it is happening in front of our eyes, and is being measured directly around the globe.

Dr. Katharina Fabricius from the Australian Institute for Marine Sciences, who has studied the effects of ocean acidification and other environmental challenges on coral reefs world-wide, will give a keynote address on the subject at the Maritime Heritage Centre, Thulin Room, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28. With over 2,000 hours of scientific diving, over 100 published scientific papers and dozens of supervised graduate students to her credit, Dr. Fabricius will share her exciting first hand stories from coral reef research around Papua New Guinea’s underwater volcanoes, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and describe what it all means for our BC waters and local shellfish production.

The event is sponsored by Discovery Passage Aquarium and North Island College.

“Though Discovery Passage Aquarium is now closed for the season, we will provide educational opportunities like this to the community throughout the year,” says Deb Cowper, Manager of the Aquarium that is run by the Discovery Passage SeaLife Society. Admission is by donation to Discovery Passage Aquarium.

“Coral reefs and our own local waters may not seem closely connected,” said Mark Wunsch, President of Discovery Passage SeaLife Society, who has a background in coral reef ecology himself. “But more and more carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels dissolves in the ocean and forms acid. The consequences are dramatic and global. Coral reefs are struggling, important tiny food organisms that feed fish and other organisms have increasing difficulty to grow, as well as some shellfish larvae in places on our North Pacific coast.

“We are looking forward to Dr. Fabricius insights about what ocean acidification will mean for our local waters.”

North Island College Biology Instructor Sandra Milligan is also excited about the talk.

“We are very excited to have a scientist of this caliber share her research experience,” she said. “It is still really important for females of all ages to see women who have excelled in science.”

For more information or to make a donation online, see

The Courier-Islander, 25 October 2013. Article.

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