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Ocean Lecture Series at Point Reyes National Seashore

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Date: March 31, 2008
Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135
Contact: Jessica Luo, 415-464-5132

An ever-increasing body of science documents the precipitous decline in the health of our oceans. Recent research published in the journal Science by Dr. Boris Worm ("Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystems Services," November 3, 2006) indicates that ocean health is in dire condition globally. If the long-term trend continues, all wild caught fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within the next 50 years. Already, the researchers found that 90% of all the fish and seafood species in the world’s oceans have been depleted within the past century, so that the annual catch has been cut at least in half. Of those species, 38% have collapsed, indicating that their populations have plunged by more than 90%. Seven percent of the fish in several studies already have become extinct.

With this in mind, Point Reyes National Seashore and our non-profit organization, the Point Reyes National Seashore Association, will be sponsoring a series of educational and informative lectures on various ocean-related topics over the next year. The first lecture is scheduled for April 16 at Dominican University of California in San Rafael.

Richard Ellis, marine biologist, celebrated artist and author of sixteen books, including Great White Shark, Encyclopedia of the Sea, and The Empty Ocean will be presenting on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM at Dominican University’s Guzman Lecture Hall. Ellis turns his gaze now to tuna – one of the biggest, fastest and most highly evolved of marine animals and the source of some of the world’s most popular delicacies – now hovering on the brink of extinction. In his lecture, Richard Ellis will discuss the natural history of tuna, sport-fishing, commercial (over)fishing, Japanese fish markets, consumption of sushi, tuna farming, mercury in tuna, and what can be done to save this imperiled species. Richard Ellis is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and has written and illustrated articles for numerous magazines, including Audubon, National Geographic, Discover, Smithsonian, and Scientific American. This event is also sponsored by Dominican University of California and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

On Saturday, April 19, 2008 two events in celebration of Earth Day at Point Reyes National Seashore will also take place. First, Point Reyes National Seashore Earth Day kicks off with a Giacomini Wetlands restoration planting from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Come and join us for replanting of native plant species in one of the largest wetland restoration projects in California. For information and to RSVP, contact Lorraine Parsons at (415) 464-5193.

Following this event will be a second on the series of lectures on the state of the oceans. Geoff Shester is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University in the Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources will talk about the marine ecosystem, human activity and conservation and then dive into his own research on the environmental, social, and economic influences on the sustainability of small-scale, cooperative fisheries along the Pacific Coast of Baja California, Mexico. Geoff Shester also works on many other projects, such as modeling the Hawaiian precious coral fishery and policy for sea turtle conservation with Oceana. Before coming to Stanford five years ago, Geoff studied the behavioral ecology of amphibians in the Costa Rican cloud forest, led environmental education programs in Monterey Bay and the Canadian Wilderness, interned with the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, and worked in Alaska as a conservation coordinator for Oceana. This event is also sponsored by Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

This lecture will take place from 4:00 – 5:00 PM in the Bear Valley Visitor Center auditorium at Point Reyes National Seashore.

All of the above listed events are free.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Bubblegum coral. Image courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

On the Cordell Bank, just 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the west of Point Reyes, there are deep-water corals that are 10 to 15 meters (33 to 50 feet) high and estimated to be over 1500 years old. More...