Marine Science Lecture Series Kicks Off

St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 2, 2010) – Two PhD candidates at USF’s College of Marine Science opened the college’s annual Eminent Scholar Lecture in a novel way: taking on the issues of ocean acidification and sea level rise in op-eds featured in the St. Petersburg Times.


Phil Thompson, who uses tide gauges and satellite altimetry to study sea level and decadal changes in climate change, called on Floridians to take sea-level change and coastal erosion seriously in his essay.


Paul Suprenand, who researches marine organisms in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and Antarctica that may show early indications of ocean acidification stress, warned of the potential devastation ocean acidification can bring to the ocean's ecosystems.


Their writings echo the themes of this year lecture series, which features four leading scholars from around the country Wednesday and Thursday speaking on the status of the world’s ice sheets and sea levels and the growing concerns about ocean acidification.


On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado will speak on “What’s Happening in the Bathtub? An Overview of Present-Day Sea Level Change.” Nerem is associate director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research and is a former geophysicist at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.


He will be followed at 2:45 p.m. by Tad Pfeffer, also of the University of Colorado, speaking on “Finding Answers to Future Sea Level Rise – What as the Question?” Pfeffer’s wide-ranging research has involved glacier dynamics; ice/ocean and ice/atmosphere interactions and heat and mass transfer in snow.


On Thursday, Joanie Kleypas of the National Center for Atmospheric Research will speak on “The Clear Causes and Muddy Effects of Ocean Acidification.” Kleypas is a marine ecologist/geologist who focuses on how coral reefs and other marine ecosystems are affected by changes in the Earth's atmosphere and climate.


Rounding out the series at 2:45 p.m. is Tim Killeen of the National Science Foundation speaking on “Challenges and Opportunities in the Geosciences.” Killeen, NSF’s Assistant Director for Geosciences, is a veteran researcher and professor in atmospheric, space, and Earth system sciences.


The lecture series is presented by the College of Marine Science and the U.S. Geological Survey, and is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times. The series serves at least eight research and education institutions in the St. Petersburg area, including the CMS, USGS, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, USF St. Petersburg, USF Tampa, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Florida Institute of Oceanography and Eckerd College.


All lectures are open to the public.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.