--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--
July 20, 2011
Contact: Tatiana Brailovskaya, Director of Communications, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, (207) 633-9633; email@example.com
Bigelow Laboratory’s August 2 Café Scientifique Guest Speaker David Shaw to Discuss High Seas Ocean Conservation
WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME – Bigelow Laboratory will welcome David Shaw as Café Scientifique guest speaker on Tuesday, August 2 at 6 p.m. in the Boothbay Harbor Opera House, 86 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. Shaw’s talk is titled “The Sargasso Sea Alliance: A Pioneering Effort in High Seas Ocean Conservation,” and will focus on the international initiative to protect the ecosystem of the Sargasso Sea.
Extending over 1.4 million square miles in the central part of the North Atlantic, the Sargasso Sea has been called “the golden rainforest of the ocean” by internationally renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle. It is bounded by ocean currents circulating around the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre, and supports a range of species not found anywhere else in the world. It plays a critical role in the life cycle of a number of threatened and endangered species such as the Porbeagle shark and the American and European eel, as well as billfish, tuna, and several species of turtles. This vast ecosystem is based on species of Sargassum, free-floating seaweed living in the open ocean.
“There’s an emerging recognition that the Sargasso Sea is a crucial part of the wider ocean ecosystem ranging from the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.” says Shaw, who is the chair of the Sargasso Sea Alliance. “The majority of the Sargasso Sea exists in areas beyond national jurisdictions, but as yet there’s no general international mechanism for protecting ocean ecosystems outside the territorial waters of individual nations.”
Led by the government of Bermuda, the Sargasso Sea Alliance is mobilizing support from a wide variety of national and international organizations, governments, and donors to establish measures to protect this unique ecosystem. Key members of the Alliance include Mission Blue, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions, SEAlliance, the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, the World Wide Fund, and the Pew Environment Group.
Shaw is treasurer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a director of the National Parks Foundation, and a science advisory board member to Discovery Communications. He has served on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the advisory board of the Center for Public Leadership. Currently Managing General Partner of Black Point Group, he is a former chair of The Jackson Laboratory; is the founder, former CEO, and executive chairman of Ikaria Holdings; founder and retired CEO of IDEXX Laboratories; and an investor and director at a number of technology companies.
Café Scientifique talks are free and open to the public, with beer, wine, and sodas available for purchase. This is the sixth of ten Bigelow Laboratory summer science conversations, held every Tuesday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. through August 30. The complete 2011 summer Café Scientifique program is posted on the Laboratory’s website (www.bigelow.org). Sign up for regular email updates about Bigelow Laboratory at www.bigelow.org/news/e_news.
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography -- examining the biology in the world’s oceans at the molecular level -- to the large-scale ocean processes that affect global environmental conditions. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory is spurring significant economic growth in the state through construction of a major Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay. ####
Photo: Juvenile sea turtle resting in Sargassum. Photo courtesy of David Shaw.