After Hours Lectures

2020

Tunas & Billfishes of the World

Join authors Bruce Collette and John Graves, along with illustrator Val Kells, as they discuss their 5-year journey to create their new book "Tunas and Billfishes of the World," and highlight some features of these incredible fish. The book describes the taxonomy, biology, fisheries, and conservation status of the 51 species of tunas, bonitos, and mackerels, and the 10 species of billfishes.

Ospreys: Revival of a Global Raptor

Dr. Alan Poole offers a fascinating glimpse at one of the Chesapeake Bay's best-loved creatures. Poole shares dazzling views of osprey hang-outs and introduces a few of the colorful characters who have aided their recent revival. Part travelogue, part biography, part scientific detective story: his talk reveals the status of one our most familiar birds of prey.

Lessons from the Arctic

Dr. Donglai Gong describes an international study of the rapidly changing Arctic Ocean, explaining how autonomous underwater robots can help explore polar regions, and highlighting efforts to engage indigenous populations and young people in this critical research field.

Climate Change & Sea-level Rise

VIMS emeritus professor Dr. Carl Hershner explores the causes of climate change and sea-level rise, as well as current and projected impacts in the mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay. He also discusses what role the COVID-19 pandemic might play in climate change trends.

Nunnally Ichthyology Collection

Collections manager Dr. Sarah Huber describes VIMS' fish collection, which began in the 1950s and has grown to house more than 500,000 specimens of fishes from the streams of Virginia, the deep-sea, and places in-between. The Collection contains three major preparation types: fluid-preserved, skeletal, and cleared and stained fishes. Dr. Huber shares some of the most unusual specimens in the collection along with preservation techniques used for each preparation type.

Ghost Forests

Ghost forests consist of dead trees adjacent to marshes, and are a striking feature of low-lying areas of the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Matt Kirwan describes his study of ghost forests as a prominent indicator of sea-level rise. His work has been featured by TIME, CNN, and The New York Times. Though ghost forests are a stark reminder of land that was dry and usable just a generation ago, Dr. Kirwan also explains how they are a surprising sign of ecological resilience in times of rapid change.

VIMS in Antarctica

Dr. Debbie Steinberg, Professor of Marine Science at VIMS, leads a team of scientists that study and document long-term changes to the Antarctic ecosystem. Here she provides an overview of the long-term research project and explains how changes in zooplankton communities, the focus of her work in Antarctica, may have a ripple effect throughout Antarctica's food web and our ocean's nutrient cycle.


Plastics in the Ocean

(February 27, 2020) In recent years, headlines about marine debris, microplastics, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have filled our news feed. While the accumulation of plastic waste in our oceans and other bodies of water is a serious concern, it is not a simple problem to understand or study. Much of this debris exists as tiny pieces called microplastics, which are able to interact with even the smallest ocean animals but very difficult for scientists to trace. The chemical makeup of plastics varies greatly and adds another layer of difficulty in understanding how plastics affect the marine environment. Join us as Meredith Seeley, a doctoral student at VIMS, walks us through the complex story of plastics in the ocean—where they come from, where they go, and how they impact ocean organisms. She will help us understand what the future may hold and our role in the story. View the archived video.

Expedition Nepal

(January 30, 2020) In 2019, a team of fisheries biologists from VIMS traveled to Nepal to study the country's freshwater fishes. Their goal was to understand how national parks—primarily designed to protect large land animals—may also protect fish habitats and diversity. Along the way they learned a great deal about the rewards and challenges associated with conducting international research. Join Dr. Mary Fabrizio, Dr. Troy Tuckey, and Vaskar Nepal as they provide a first-hand account of their expedition. From extreme heat to wild rhinoceros encounters, they will detail their expedition and what they hope to discover with the information they gathered. View the archived video.