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Gumbo Limbo

Posted on: November 20, 2023

EcoWatch: A Free Lecture Series

Ecowatch lecture series

Glimpse the many faces of conservation as experts in their fields share their work, research, and experiences, with the common goal of a more sustainable future.  Lectures will be held in the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center classroom, followed by a visit to our lighted aquariums for a special after-hours viewing of the nocturnal habits of our aquarium residents.

  • Adults and children ages 13 and up; children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
  • Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 pm (dates below)
  • Reservations are recommended to assure space for you or your group in these free programs; please call (561)544-8605 to reserve.

February 28, 2024

"Octopus Research: Behavior, Bacteria, and Beyond!"
Dr. Chelsea Bennice – Florida Atlantic University

Octopuses are an important group in many marine food webs and serve as bioinspiration for soft robotics.  Join Dr. Bennice as she takes you on a virtual research dive to study her “octo-topics” including behavior, the skin microbiome, and species identification.

Spending more than 1,000 hours underwater studying octopuses, Dr. Bennice has earned her nickname “OctoGirl,” a signature she uses to share her passion for octopuses and marine conservation. She uses innovative science tools such as a 24 hour camera, the octopus monitoring gadget (OMG), and a floating lab to aid in answering research questions to advance basic and applied sciences.

March 6, 2024

"Sharks are Snowbirds Too!"
Dr. Stephen Kajiura - Professor, Florida Atlantic University Department of Biological Sciences

Blacktip sharks aggregate by the thousands in nearshore waters of southeast Florida every winter.  For over a decade we have employed aerial surveys with airplanes and drones, acoustic and satellite telemetry, underwater video monitoring, and animal-borne data loggers to examine the distribution and movements of sharks as they overwinter along our coast and migrate up the eastern seaboard.  We have found that these sharks have shifted their distribution to higher latitudes in response to warming oceans.  In the future, southeast Florida might actually be deprived of these seasonally important predators, which could have cascading effects throughout the marine ecosystem.

Dr. Stephen Kajiura is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University. He received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Hawaii, a MS in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology from the University of Guelph (Canada).  Dr. Kajiura has conducted research for various agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  He has published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, authored 5 book chapters, and has presented numerous talks at scientific conferences.  He has supervised over a dozen graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, and has served on numerous thesis committees for students from around the world.  Dr. Kajiura maintains a strong public outreach service, primarily through television documentary appearances, and has served as an elected member of the American Elasmobranch Society Board of Directors. He has over 30 years of experience studying the biology of sharks and rays.

March 27, 2024

"Unraveling the Mysteries of Shark Ecology and Human Impacts"
Hannah Medd - American Shark Conservancy

Hannah Medd, Lead Scientist at the American Shark Conservancy (ASC) believes in the power of public awareness to drive support for shark conservation. Using non-invasive data collection techniques, ASC investigates the biology and ecology of sharks to understand the impact of human activities on these fascinating creatures.

April 24, 2024

"The Mysterious Manta Rays of Florida"
Jessica Pate - Founder, Florida Manta Project

Dive into the world of manta ray biology and global manta ray conservation; learn about the Florida Manta Ray Project and the many discoveries made by about Florida’s manta rays.  You will also find out how to become a citizen scientist and contribute to important manta ray research!

Jessica Pate has an undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a graduate degree from Florida Atlantic University.  She has studied sea turtles in Florida, Central America, and West Africa.  She has also taught marine biology on traditionally rigged schooners and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean by sail.  In 2016, Jessica started the Florida Manta Project to study the biology and ecology of manta rays in South Florida and has discovered a potential rare nursery habitat. The Florida Manta Project is the first dedicated study of manta rays in the continental U.S.

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