2005 After Hours Lectures

The Tide Next Time

(November 17, 2005) Sea level rose by about one foot in Chesapeake Bay between the "Storm King" hurricane of 1933 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Rising sea level helps explain why the storm tides for both events were nearly identical (even though Isabel was a less powerful hurricane), but it doesn't tell the whole story. Join us as VIMS emeritus Professor and renowned tide expert Dr.John Boon explains how daily, seasonal, and year-to-year changes in tide levels can help predict just how high future storm tides might reach. Signed copies of Boon's recent book "Secrets of the Tide" will be available for purchase.

Marine Leeches: Vampires of the Sea

(October 27, 2005) Leeches have played the blood-sucking villain in many Hollywood movies. But scientists see them as elegantly adapted creatures with important medicinal uses and a significant role in marine ecosystems, where they can transmit parasites and disease among fishes. Join us as VIMS Professor Dr. Eugene Burreson explores the natural history and taxonomy of leeches in Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere around the world. Burreson is the world's leading expert on these unusual creatures.

Coastal Virginia: Hub for Bird Migration

(September 29, 2005) Coastal Virginia is the hub for the most significant concentration of migrating birds in eastern North America. Each year millions of birds traveling the Atlantic Flyway stop to rest and refuel within the waters, marshes, and uplands of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Join us as Michael Wilson from the Center for Conservation Biology, College of William & Mary, describes the ecological role of this region for migration and the lattice of radars, ground-counts, aerial surveys, and research used to guide land- and water-use decisions that will help preserve this area for future generations of migrating birds.

Reptiles and Amphibians of Lower Chesapeake Bay: Their Natural History and Conservation

(August 25, 2005) The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to a myriad of reptiles and amphibians, including turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads. Many are important "bioindicators" whose health can shed light on the vitality of the surrounding ecosystem. Join us as herpetologist Donald Schwab explores the natural history and conservation of these imperiled creatures in eastern Virginia. Schwab is a Senior Wildlife Biologist at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Great Dismal Swamp Refuge.

Dead Zones in Chesapeake Bay: Causes & Consequences

(July 28, 2005) "Dead zones," marine areas with insufficient oxygen for undersea life, have doubled in size and number every decade since the 1970s. About 150 such zones now exist in coastal waters worldwide, including Chesapeake Bay. Join us as VIMS Professor Dr. Robert Diaz explores the causes and consequences of dead zones, as well as efforts to bring these zones back to life. Diaz is a world-renowned expert on nutrient pollution and the effects of low oxygen levels on bottom-dwelling organisms.

Wetlands—the Disappearing Resource

(June 30, 2005) Wetlands come in many different sizes, shapes, and types, but all are disappearing from the landscape. Join Dr. Carl Hershner, Director of the Center for Coastal Resource Management at VIMS, as he explains the ecological importance of wetlands, explores why they are disappearing, and shows examples of the interesting and creative techniques that scientists use to study these systems.

Whales and Dolphins and Seals—Oh My!

(May 26, 2005) More than 30 species of marine mammals have been recorded in Virginia waters. Despite this rich diversity, little is known about their life histories in Chesapeake Bay and beyond. Join Mark Swingle of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center as he introduces Virginia's marine mammals and describes how "dolphin detectives" are uncovering the mysteries of their lives. View artifacts and research tools, and learn what you can do to help conserve marine mammals and their habitats.

Ecology of the non-native oyster Crassostrea ariakensis

(April 28, 2005) Both Virginia and Maryland are considering the introduction of the non-native oyster Crassostrea ariakensis into Chesapeake Bay. Join us as Dr. Mark Luckenbach explores how research here and in Asia is helping to shed light on the biology and ecology of the species, and its potential effects if introduced. Luckenbach's research on C. ariakensis includes studying its ecology in its native range in Japan and China.

Conservation Landscaping: Bay-friendly practices for the Coastal Plain

(March 31, 2005) Traditional lawn and garden maintenance relies on gasoline-powered equipment and chemical pesticides. Conservation landscaping is an alternative approach to create attractive, low-maintenance landscapes while also reducing air and water pollution and restoring wildlife habitat. Join Ms. Karen Duhring as she describes simple home landscape practices to maintain healthy soil, select beneficial plants, conserve water, and practice integrated pest management.

The Ancient Life of Chesapeake Bay

(February 24th, 2005) The landscape, climate, and life in the Chesapeake region have changed drastically since the formation of the Appalachian Mountains about 250 million years ago. Dr. Gerald Johnson will take us through the history of life as North America was torn from Africa and Eurasia creating the Atlantic Ocean, as sea level rose and fell over the last 150 million years, and as climates warmed and cooled following the Age of Dinosaurs.

A New Disease in Striped Bass: Should Anglers Beware?

(January 27, 2005) VIMS researchers have found that three of every four striped bass examined are infected with mycobacteria. Generally associated with aquaculture, the current bacterial outbreak is notable because it's occurring in a natural population, can produce unsightly skin lesions, involves several new mycobacterial species, and has unknown consequences for striped bass stocks. Join us as Dr. Howard Kator discusses the disease, what we know and don't know, and the possible consequences to both fish and people.