Florida Tech Public Science Lecture April 27 to Focus on Algal Blooms’ Impact on Wildlife

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Spencer Fire, an assistant professor in Florida Institute of Technology’s Department of Biological Sciences, will present, “Marine Biotoxins: Emergence of Harmful Algal Blooms as Health Threats to Marine Wildlife,” starting at 8 p.m. Friday, April 27 in the latest installment of the university’s Public Science Lecture Series.

The presentation, in the Olin Engineering Building Auditorium (Room EC118) is free and open to the public.

Marine megafauna – large, ocean-dwelling animals – are often long-lived, top-level consumers that face a number of threats from natural and man-made sources. Because of their ability to concentrate contaminants through bioaccumulation and their increasing exposure to a wide variety of health threats, these animals can serve as barometers of ocean health and demonstrate links between ocean and human health.

In his presentation, Fire will show that toxic algal blooms can have devastating effects on marine mammals and other marine wildlife, resulting in mass mortalities with deaths numbering in the hundreds. He will present some of his work aimed at understanding how these algal toxins affect marine mammals, which in turn can help us understand how to respond to and mitigate chemical threats against protected marine species.

Following the lecture, at approximately 9 p.m., and weather permitting, Florida Tech’s Student Astronomical Society will open up the 32-inch Ortega telescope for public viewing; three smaller telescopes will be on hand, as well.

Maps and directions for all these events can be found online at http://cos.fit.edu/pss/aapls.php/.

The F.W. Olin Engineering Complex is located on West University Boulevard. For more information, call 321-674-8098.

 

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