Science and Cocktails: Lightning Talks

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Lightning Talks

Wednesday, November 8, 6-10pm at the Seattle Aquarium
$25 general admission, $20 member admission.

Join us for a fun, all ages evening at the Seattle Aquarium featuring fascinating, five-minute glimpses into the latest marine and ocean science from local scientists and science enthusiasts. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served; cash bar. After the main event, head to our Life on the Edge exhibit to chat with our presenters, enjoy dessert bites and sip a nightcap!

Event schedule:

6pm  Doors open. Explore the Aquarium!
7:15pm  Program begins in Puget Sound Hall.
8:15pm  Coffee and desserts in the Life on the Edge exhibit.

Lightning Talks speakers and topics:

Julie Carpenter
Sea Otter Rehabilitation
Seattle Aquarium

Mackenzie Gerringer
Life in the Trenches
University of Washington

Greg Hanscom
Guess What's Showing Up in Our Shellfish? One Word: Plastics
KCTS and Crosscut

Phil Levin
My Perfect Ocean
University of Washington/The Nature Conservancy

Dayv Lowry
The Amazing Sharks in Your Back Yard
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Stuart Munsch
Can Seattle's Urban Waterfront Still Be a Salmon Nursery?
Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Katie Pelch
Who's to Blame? How Your Trip to the Store May Be Harming Marine Wildlife
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

Peter Rabinowitz
One Health
University of Washington

Jeff Renner
Climate Change, the Ocean and Us
Seattle Aquarium Volunteer, The Mountaineers Books and Renner Jones, Inc.

Luke Tornabene
The Burke Museum's Plunge into the Deep Caribbean
University of Washington & Burke Museum

Michael Werner
Falling for Blondie, a 12-Feet-Tall, Green-Eyed Beauty
KCTS & Vulcan Productions

Chelsea Wood
How to Enjoy Sushi without Getting Infested by Parasites
University of Washington

Lightning Talks speakers and topics:

Trevor Branch
Associate professor, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington

The near extinction and hopeful rebuilding of the Antarctic blue whale: the largest animal ever

The largest and most numerous blue whale population in the world lives in the Antarctic. These animals’ swift speed protected the population from whalers until the 20th century, but then it was rapidly whaled down to just 0.15 percent of pre-whaling numbers. Since the 1970s, when the final burst of illegal Soviet whaling ended, their numbers have started to rebuild, but remain between just one and two percent of original levels.

Northern fur seal populations in Alaska are less than 25% of their historic levels and continue to decline for unknown reasons. In 2016, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used ground-breaking technology, Saildrones, to create the first detailed maps of prey availability within the fur seals range while simultaneously measuring fur seal feeding behavior. This study will help researchers determine how variation in food availability impacts northern fur seals, which is a significant step towards determining if a reduction in the fur seal’s prey is linked to the decline.

Adam P. Summers
Professor, University of Washington, Friday Harbor Labs
Armor from the sea—what poachers teach us about defense

I am, with colleagues, CT scanning every fish in the sea, river, lake and pond. We have discovered some rules about armoring from a group of eastern north Pacific fishes called poachers. They use armor for lots of reasons and we can learn new tricks by understanding their approach.

Dr. Gregory C. Johnson
Affiliate professor, School of Oceanography, College of the Environment, University of Washington
Climate change science
lightning haiku summary
with watercolors

In September 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approved their fifth assessment report on the physical science basis of climate change. It has 14 chapters, is 1,535 pages long, and weighs over eight pounds. One of the lead authors of this report distills it (unofficially) into 19 haiku illustrated by watercolors.

James E. West
Senior research scientist, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Biomagnification of toxic contaminants in Puget Sound’s food web: let’s look out the window to Elliott Bay

How have Pacific Northwest killer whales, “…some of the most contaminated cetaceans studied in the world,” become so contaminated with PCBs? Here we look at pathways and biomagnification of PCBs in the food web that supports these and other apex predators in Puget Sound. How does this information help us decide how best to reduce chemical contamination of the Salish Sea ecosystem?

Lindsay Holladay
Marine science interpreter, Seattle Aquarium
20,000 leaks under the sea

How do we know where methane is seeping out of the continental shelf and where is it coming from? What effect will it have on our coastal water and atmosphere? Can we harvest it? This past June, a team of ocean researchers, underwater engineers and marine educators set out on the E/V Nautilus to add to these questions.

Description coming soon!

Margaret Siple
Graduate student, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Sound and herring: the Puget Sound food web and its most iconic forage fish

Pacific herring are an essential component of the Puget Sound food web, transforming energy from zooplankton into edible packets of food for predators like seabirds, marine mammals and salmon. Though famous for being the food of other famous organisms, herring are exciting in their own right. I will share what we currently know about herring in the Puget Sound ecosystem, and briefly discuss some herring mysteries yet to be solved.

Shawn Larson
Curator of conservation research, Seattle Aquarium
Wildlife rehabilitation and the story of Rialto

I will discuss the value of wildlife rehabilitation by telling the story of the rehabilitation at the Seattle Aquarium of a baby sea otter found stranded on Rialto beach this summer. His story is compelling for many reasons, and raises the question about why people are so moved by the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife.

Dr. James C. Deutsch
Director, Wildlife Conservation, Vulcan Inc.
Counting to save sharks through Finprint

Some 100 million sharks are fished yearly, resulting in population crashes around the world. But no one has ever tried to count sharks globally to assess species, population and ecosystem health, and inform conservation action. With partners led by Florida State University, we’re deploying baited remote underwater video units (BRUVs) across the world’s coral reefs to determine, for the first time, where sharks are thriving and where they are missing or at risk.


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