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Sea Secrets Lecture Series 2019 with Brian Helmuth, Ph.D.

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Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway

Miami, FL 33149

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Brian Helmuth, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts

Saving the World One Robomussel at a Time: Ecological Forecasting in the Era of Rapid Climate Change

Animals experience their world in ways that are difficult for us to comprehend, especially coastal animals that alternate between a terrestrial and aquatic existence during low and high tides. The alternating lifestyles can make predicting the effects of climate change on these organisms—and subsequently on humans—difficult to quantify. Ecological forecasting techniques, including the use of cutting-edge instruments such as biomimetic sensors, provide a means of prioritizing vulnerabilities, potentially delaying some of the worst impacts. Using the marshes of Southern Iraq as a case study, Helmuth will discuss how his research group, working with Iraqi scientists, uses ecological forecasting to address the ongoing impacts of global climate change on the people and ecosystems of this fragile region—often referred to as the cradle of civilization.

In addition to focusing on the likely ecological impacts of climate change on coastal and coral reef ecosystems, Helmuth’s lab group collaborates with formal and informal educators to develop cutting-edge technologiesto facilitate science learning by K-16 students as well as the general public. A veteran of several saturation missions in the Aquariusunderwater habitat, Helmuth was a science advisor to the Fabien Cousteau Mission 31 project in 2014, and is a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership program, which trains select scientists to interact with policy makers, journalists, and the public. In 2011, he was named a Google Science Communication Fellowin the area of climate change.

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Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway

Miami, FL 33149

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