WHAT: Our warming oceans are taking an increasing toll on coral reefs, making it even more important to understand how the changing atmosphere affects these living ecosystems and how they have adapted historically. The chemistry of fossil coral skeletons from tens of thousands of years ago may hold the key to understanding this important coupling between the atmosphere and the oceans.
As corals grow, they take up chemicals from the seawater in which they live. The exact composition of these chemicals can reveal information on water temperature, circulation rates, and the amount of carbon or nutrients in the water in the past. Using this information, climate scientists can examine the way in which the oceans changed as the planet moved from a cold glacial state to the warm period in the last 10,000 years. This lecture will explore the underwater mountains that form the habitats for these corals and how and why corals can survive in such inhospitable locations, as well as looking at evidence on how they are being impacted by current human activities – and what is required to save them.
WHO: Laura Robinson is a geochemist, oceanographer, and deep-sea explorer whose research focuses on understanding the climate history of the oceans. She leads research teams at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Bristol using deep-submergence tools to map, image, and collect deep-sea corals from across the global oceans. She and her team use geochemical analysis to extract information on how these coals survive at great depths and to reconstruct information on the history of the oceans. This information is used to understand the interactions between the deep sea and rapid changes in global climate.
WHEN: Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: New England Aquarium Simons IMAX Theatre, Central Wharf, Boston
HOW: Pre-registration is encouraged on the Aquarium’s website, www.neaq.org/learn/lectures/upcoming-lectures/ or call 617-973-5200 for more information.
NOTE: The John Carlson Lecture Series communicates exciting new results in climate science to the general public. Free of charge and open to the general public, this lecture is made possible by a generous gift from MIT alumnus John H. Carlson. This event is sponsored by The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, The Lorenz Center and The New England Aquarium. Registration is requested. Most lectures are recorded and available for viewing on the New England Aquarium YouTube channel.