Monday, April 19, 2010

Lecture - Dr. Edie Widder

First of all, I feel priveleged to say that I have met Dr. Widder on multiple occasions during my time at Harbor Branch, and she is a fantastic person. She tenaciously rollerbladed around the campus and has a wonderful, approachable demeanor. Oh yeah, and the woman is brilliant too.

I adore how she started the talk with the quote:

“People protect what they love” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Isn't that profound? The guy made some mistakes in his life, but also had such an amazing impact on the culture and progression of marine research and conservation that he will always have my endearing respect.

Her talk took place as part of the Mission Blue Voyage and gave the presentation in the Galapagos. Here is the link for Dr. Edie Widder's "Glowing life in an underwater world"

I love how she started her talk with “my addiction began with….” Isn’t that why this blog exists? She is a ground breaking scientist who is well spoken and easy to understand whether you are a seasoned researcher or a budding student. I will always think of her as the “queen of bioluminescence” and feel honored to have attended her talks in the past. Now her work with ORCA continues to make great strides.

Dr. Widder gives a complete background on her research and the biology of bioluminescence. She notes that drag nets coming up from 3000 feet yield 80-90% animals that make light. She shows her work with the “splat screen” used on the Johnso-Sea-Link submersible. It is cool she has never shied away from adapting technology to be used in deep ocean research.

This discussion also covers the importance of bioluminescence in chemistry, evoluntionarily, and biologically. There was even a recent Nobel Prize given for research on glowing jellyfish. Widder covers her journey through an amazing career as a marine researcher, the background and biology for her work, and she even gives props to Pixar's Finding Nemo and the use of bioluminescence. Widder's personality shine throughout this talk and you can even hear the audience laughing over some of the comments and analogies.

RATING: ~~~~~(5 out of 5 waves) an absolute MUST SEE

Lots of nature centers and environmental facilities (zoo & aquariums included) offer scientific lectures from some pretty spectacular people. These are often FREE, so check out what your local area offers... you may learn something or even find a new passion!

I know I do!


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