Archive for March, 2009

Skidaway Institute lecture to focus on climate change and origins of life

March 19, 2009

Approximately 3.6 billion years ago, the Earth faced its greatest pollution crisis ever, and it changed the way life developed on our planet.

Marc Frischer

Marc Frischer

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography professor Marc Frischer will discuss that pollution crisis and the origins of life on Earth in the next program of Skidaway Institute’s spring lecture series “Living with the Ocean.” The lecture program will be presented twice, on Monday, March 30, at the Coastal Georgia Center on Fahm Street in downtown Savannah and again on Thursday, April 2, in the library auditorium at Skidaway Institute. Both programs will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Frischer will be joined in the two-speaker program, titled “The Oceans Drive the Earth,” by Skidaway Institute professor Stuart Wakeham. He will focus the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere, and the ocean’s major role in global climate change.

That primordial pollution crisis was caused by the evolution of microbial life. The so-called pollution was oxygen derived from the microbial invention of photosynthesis.

“Oxygen, the end product of oxygenic photosynthesis, was toxic to most of the planet’s earliest life,” said Frischer. “However, life adapted, and the presence of oxygen lead to the evolution of most of the life that is familiar to us now and is now essential to modern life, including us.”

Frischer’s talk will take the audience on a journey from the formation of Earth through the evolution of life in the oceans and the transformation of the planet to what we know today. Along the way the audience will learn about the diversity of life and the important role played by microbes in the ocean and other planetary ecosystems.

Stuart Wakeham

Stuart Wakeham

Wakeham’s lecture will touch on one of the most talked-about topics of today – global climate change. He will discuss how the interactions between the ocean and atmosphere strongly influence the global climate.

“Ocean sediments contain a record of global change in the past,” Wakeham said. “Understanding how the ocean has affected climate in the past and how its present-day changes affect the ocean are important for our ability to predict the state of the earth in the future.”

The next programs in the series will be:

“Living Near the Ocean”

Monday, April 20, Coastal Georgia Center

Thursday, April 23, Skidaway Institute

“Planet Earth in the 21st Century”

Monday, May 11, Coastal Georgia Center

Thursday, May 14, Skidaway Institute

All programs will begin at 7 p.m.

For additional information, call Michael Sullivan at (912) 598-2325 or visit the Skidaway Institute Web site at www.skio.usg.edu.

‘One Big Ocean’ kicks off Skidaway Institute spring lecture series

March 5, 2009

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography spring lecture series will begin with a two-speaker program titled “One Big Ocean.” The program will be presented twice, on Tuesday, March 10, at the Coastal Georgia Center on Fahm Street in downtown Savannah and again on Thursday, March 12, in the library auditorium at Skidaway Institute. Both programs will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The program is the first of four science lectures under the umbrella title “Living with the Ocean” that will focus on the 21st century ocean and man’s interaction with it.

james-sanders-webSkidaway Institute Director Jim Sanders will begin the program with his talk “Oceanography 101: What every science literate person should know about our ocean planet” Sanders’ talk will address the general principles and concepts that govern the functioning of the oceans.

“I hope to help the audience to understand how the oceans influence life on earth, and how people influence the ocean,” Sanders said. “With this knowledge, people should be better able to make informed and responsible decisions about the ocean and its resources.”

jay-brandes-webSkidaway Institute professor Jay Brandes will present the second half of the program with a talk titled “The most amazing substance on Earth – water” Brandes will examine how water is an essential component of life on Earth.

“Not only does it makes up the majority of our and other life forms’ bodies, but it transports heat around the globe, dissolves nutrients and other elements from rocks, and provides an environment that occupies 70 per cent of the surface of our planet.,” Brandes said.

The next program in the series will be:

“The Oceans Drive the Earth”

Monday, March 30, at the Coastal Georgia Center

Thursday, April 2, at Skidaway Institute.

“Living Near the Ocean”

Monday, April 20, Coastal Georgia Center

Thursday, April 23, Skidaway Institute

“Planet Earth in the 21st Century”

Monday, May 11, Coastal Georgia Center

Thursday, May 14, Skidaway Institute

All programs will begin at 7 p.m.

For additional information, call Michael Sullivan at (912) 598-2325 or visit the Skidaway Institute Web site at www.skio.usg.edu.