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KBRR Brown Bag presentations

July 13, 2012

Kachemak Bay Research Reserve is hosting three brown bag lunch lectures July 18, 19, 20, 2012 from noon to 1:00pm.

Bring your lunch and learn something new in the Islands and Oceans seminar room!

 Wednesday, July 18th: Shellfish Toxins: are we at risk? with Ray RaLonde, Alaska Sea Grant, and Terry Thompson, Kachemak Bay Research Reserve

Recreational harvesting of shellfish in Alaska is a favorite activity among many residents and visitors. With these harvests comes a level of uncertainty about potential toxins accumulating in our shellfish that can be harmful to humans. Ray RaLonde, Aquaculture Specialist with Alaska Sea Grant – Marine Advisory Program will discuss the types of toxins that can be found in our shellfish and the potential risks that come when recreationally harvesting shellfish in Alaska waters.

Testing, and certification of beaches for paralytic shellfish toxins in recreationally harvested shellfish has not been done in Alaska. However, starting in 2012 a new monitoring program, funded by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation will begin to build a baseline of paralytic shellfish toxin levels in selected areas of Alaska. Terry Thompson, Reserve Manager for the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve will provide an overview of the monitoring program designed for the Southern Kenai Peninsula, slated to begin late July.

Thursday, July 19th: Deciphering How Salmon Use Estuaries with Dr. Tammy Hoem Neher, KBRR

Salmon populations that show a wide range of life history diversity when they enter the marine environment are thought to be resilient to climate changes. Tammy will share the finding of an ongoing Research Reserve study that looks at the role that estuaries play in helping salmon grow and be resilient to their changing environments.

Friday, July 20th: Native Orchids – complex species that require a national approach for conservation with Dennis Whigham, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 

There are approximately 250 orchid species in the U.S. and Canada, and more than 50% are listed as threatened or endangered.  Orchids, the most highly evolved group of plants on the planet, have complex life cycles that include obligate interactions with fungi and (for some species) very specific pollinators.  Orchids occur in almost all environments in the U.S. and Canada and they are often among the first species to disappear when the environment changes.  Orchids are the equivalent to the ‘canary in the coal mine’ in the plant world. When orchids are present and enduring it is a sign of a healthy ecosystem.  Dennis will explain the ecology of orchids and the essential elements for their growth and success, and present on a new effort, (jointly organized by the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Botanical Garden) to develop a national program to assure the survival of our native orchid heritage.  The North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC) will be a public-private partnership that will include botanical gardens, scholars, and volunteers from all over the U.S. and Canada.

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