Research Seminar Series Celebrates Year of the Coral Reef
April, May, June Lectures Announced at Bishop Museum
Bishop Museum will join the world in the celebration of the International Year of the Coral Reef with a special three-part Research Seminar Series focused on coral reef ecology featuring noted researchers and experts in the field. The program is sponsored in part by Outrigger Reef on the Beach and the Kohala Center, and will be held at 6 p.m. in Atherton Hālau at Bishop Museum on April 10, May 8, and June 12, 2008. Admission to each of the lecture programs is free. Parking is also free and amply available on the grounds of Bishop Museum.
On April 10, the program featuring Cornell University’s Dr. Catherine Drew Harvell will focus on global warming and diseases of the coral reef. Trial by Fire: Will Coral Reefs Weather Warming and Disease is the title of Dr. Harvell’s lecture. Coral reefs are under pressure from the triple threat of ocean warming, acidification and infectious disease. Scientists are just beginning to unravel the direct and interacting effects of this environmental change on the sustainability of the coral reef ecosystem. Dr. Harvell chairs a global program on Coral Disease and will explain how coral reef scientists are developing new knowledge to improve management of sustainable reef ecosystems.
On May 8, Dr. Charles Birkeland of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa will discuss Leaving the Big Fish: The Importance to Coral Reefs and the Fishery. It is a part of mainland fishing tradition to selectively take the larger individual fishes, leaving the smaller ones to grow. But the few larger individuals of a species often have a different role in the coral reef ecosystem than do the smaller individuals and this role can be important for the reef community. For some fish populations, the larger individuals have the reproductive potential of over 200 medium-sized individuals, and for some species, the older individuals produce more healthy and faster growing offspring. By selectively taking the larger individuals, some mainland fisheries have driven the evolution of certain species to smaller sizes. Dr. Birkeland will discuss how leaving the larger individuals may contribute to the maintenance of the coral reef ecosystem and to the stability of the fish population.
On June 12, Bishop Museum’s intrepid underwater explorer Dr. Richard Pyle will present, Into the Twilight Zone: Exploring the Deep Coral Reefs. Coral reef habitat extends from the surface of tropical seas down to a depth of approximately 500 feet (150 meters), but only the upper one-third of this habitat has been adequately explored. The remaining two-thirds of coral-reef habitat, which lies at depths beyond what can be safely accessed with conventional scuba gear, remains almost completely unknown. Using advanced, high-tech diving gear and special gas mixtures, a team of marine biologists has begun to investigate the deep coral reefs, and have discovered more than a hundred new species of fishes. Dr. Pyle will describe how a multi-institutional team of scientists in Hawai‘i—with funding from NOAA—are collaborating to document the deep coral reefs off Maui using state-of-the-art technologies.
The Research Seminar Series is a monthly forum held on the second Thursday of each month. The programs are coordinated by Bishop Museum’s Dr. Steve Coles, who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 847-8256. For more information about Bishop Museum’s Research Seminar Series on Coral Reefs, call 808.847.3511 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org.