Science On Tap: Using Physiological Research to Inform the Conservation of Marine Mammals

Jul 26 @ 8:00pm

FREE EVENT! In the Crepe Place Garden! Please call 831-429-6994 for reservations. Patio is heated, but please bring warm clothes just in case!

Wednesday, July 26 at 8 PM

Using Physiological Research to Inform the Conservation of Marine Mammals

Nicole M. Thometz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology, University of San Francisco
Research Associate, Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

Our planet is a wonderfully biodiverse place filled with amazing organisms. Unfortunately, as a result of rapid global climate change and local anthropogenic impacts, ecosystems around the globe are currently threatened and facing major biodiversity losses. Organisms that live in the oceans face a unique array of threats, including climate change (e.g. increasing temperatures, ocean acidification, and sea ice loss), vessel traffic and ship strikes, entanglement, pollution, changes in the distribution and abundance of prey, increasing oceanic noise, and fisheries pressure. Given that marine mammals often play pivotal roles within their ecosystems, they are an important group of species to protect and conserve. In addition, marine mammals are an impressively diverse group of organisms with very distinct evolutionary histories and amazing physiological and behavioral adaptations, which allow them to live and foraging in marine environments. Managing high rates of heat loss, withstanding pressure while diving at depth, and processing high levels of salt, are just a few of the impressive physiological feats marine mammals perform on a daily basis. Therefore, studying marine mammal physiology and behavior can produce important information, which may be key to informing conservation and management efforts. In this talk, I will discuss a few examples of how recent local research efforts have produced critical data, key to informing conservation and management efforts for a variety of marine mammal species.