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Science Pub RVA: What Has Marine Biodiversity Done for You Lately?

Why are bugs and slugs important? Of the many changes occurring in the world, one of the most striking is the decline of wildlife on land and sea. Why should we care? Join other curious minds at this month’s Science Pub RVA on TuesdayMarch 5th at 7:00 p.m. at The Camel. Dr. J. Emmett Duffy, Director of the Marine Biodiversity Lab at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science will review some of the latest scientific evidence that biodiversity is not just a pretty face.  

Biological diversity is of central importance to the healthy functioning of the world’s ecosystems and the ‘natural services’ they provide to humanity. These include fisheries and other wild food production, waste disposal, and a clean water supply. Sustaining nature’s services depends on a complex web of interacting parts, and Dr. Duffy will explain how even lowly bugs and slugs and seagrass can play important roles.

Dr. J. Emmett Duffy is known around the world for research documenting how biological diversity affects functioning ecosystems and was recently awarded Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, research and public service. He founded and currently leads the global Zostera Experimental Network, funded by the National Science Foundation, which involves seven countries in exploring how nutrient pollution and altered food-webs influence the world’s economically important but threatened seagrass meadows. Watch this video to learn more about Dr. Duffy’s global research on seagrasses.

Dr. Duffy is the author of over 100 articles and an edited volume on crustacean social biology. His research has been featured in the BBC’s Blue Planet series, in textbooks, and in media outlets worldwide. He was awarded an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship in 2006, and has since co-led major efforts to put biodiversity science to work in informing public policy and education/awareness. 

Dr. Duffy holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has held research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of California, Davis. He is currently the Loretta and Lewis Glucksman Professor of Marine Science and head of the Marine Biodiversity Lab at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where he has taught since 1994. He blogs on ocean-related topics at the SeaMonster.

To hear more on the role of biodiversity on Tuesday, March 5th, be sure to register via Eventbrite. Seating is limited and on a first come basis. The structured portion of the evening is from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., but go as early as 6:00 p.m. to grab some eats, a drink and meet other curious-minded folks.

Science Pub RVA is part of the NOVA Science Café network promoted by the iconic, long-running PBS program NOVA. To learn more about Science Pub RVA, send an email to Cynthia J. Gibbs at SciencePubRVA@gmail.com

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