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Master Class II: Research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

January 17: Quest for the Ruby Seadragon

Professor Greg Rouse

Until 2015 there were two species of seadragon known to science. The common (or weedy) seadragon and leafy seadragon are both native to southern Australia and are popular aquarium exhibits around the world. Professor Rouse and his colleagues have been studying their conservation genetics for the last 12 years, and he will discuss their findings in this lecture. These include the serendipitous discovery of a third species, the ruby seadragon, which his team named in 2015. Since the new species was known only from museum material, Rouse led a successful expedition in 2016 to find the ruby seadragon in the wild.

Presenter: Greg Rouse is a professor in the Marine Biology Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Current research interests include the biology and evolution of seadragons and the diversity and evolution of invertebrate animals. He has discovered and named more than 100 species of animals and published two books and over 200 scientific papers. He received his BS and MS from the University of Queensland and his PhD from the University of Sydney.

January 31: Food, Biodiversity, and Climate Change: Lessons from the Past for the Future Professor Jade d'Alpoim Guedes As the mean state of the global climate changes and human populations increase at an unprecedented rate, agricultural sustainability has become a regular focus of government, commercial enterprise, academic research, and popular media. One of the most pressing questions centers on whether agriculture will be able to feed a global population of over nine billion people in 2050. Although humans have relied on thousands of different types of wild and domesticated plants in the course of their evolution, today our diet is based on only a few. Using the Tibetan Plateau as an example, this talk will describe how humans have adapted their subsistence strategies to changes following a major event of climate change on the Plateau. It will also examine how forgotten crops may provide important resources for farming today.

Presenter: Jade d'Alpoim Guedes is Assistant Professor in the UC San Diego Department of Anthropology and at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is an environmental archaeologist and ethnobiologist who employs an interdisciplinary research program to understand how humans adapted their foraging practices and agricultural strategies to new environments and have developed resilience in the face of climatic and social change. She received her PhD in Anthropological Archaeology from Harvard University.

February 28: Permafrost and Climate Change

Dan Lubin, PhD

The Arctic permafrost is widely regarded as a "time bomb" for planetary climate warming. Approximately 90 gigatons of carbon, locked up in plants that died after the last ice age, could suddenly be released into the atmosphere if Arctic surface temperatures rise just two degrees to melt the permafrost. This would be accompanied by a large release of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas. Recent studies of the current state of Arctic permafrost support this dramatic scenario, while other paleoclimatic studies suggest a lesser immediate danger. Arctic permafrost is therefore an example of how the research community is working at the cutting edge of climate science. How do we weigh the contrasting findings? How do we assess risks? What are the potential impacts of such a dramatic change on local communities and on national security?

Presenter: Dan Lubin is a Research Physicist and Senior Lecturer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He received his BA in Physics from Northwestern University, then a MS in Astronomy and Astrophysics and PhD in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago. His research focuses on fieldwork and satellite remote sensing of the Earth's polar regions.

March 14: TBD

Coordinator: Steve Jenner

Course Number: OSHR-70135   Credit: 0 units

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