--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
July 22, 2010
Contact: Tatiana Brailovskaya, Director of Communications, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences 207.633.9633 email@example.com
How Whales Went Back to Sea: Bigelow Laboratory’s August 3 Café Scientifique
WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME – Bigelow Senior Research Scientist Dr. David McClellan will lead a discussion about how the world’s largest mammals returned to life in the oceans at the Laboratory’s August 3 Café Scientifique gathering at 6:00 p.m. in the Opera House, 86 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. His discussion is titled “Returning to the Sea: The Surprising Story of Whale Evolution,” and will focus on key evolutionary steps along the way, steps that can be documented both at the genetic level and in the fossil record.
“The story of how an ancestral land mammal essentially reversed course, adapted to the ocean once more, and gave rise to the whales we know today is a fascinating chapter in evolutionary history,” said McClellan. “Fossils show that this transformation was a gradual process of reversing millions of years of adaptation in one direction – toward life on land – back to a successful marine lifestyle. Thanks to rapid advances in gene sequencing technology, we’re starting to study evolution at the molecular level and discover previously unknown genetic connections among organisms, populations, and species.”
McClellan, who is also Director of the Laboratory’s Postdoctoral Education Training Program, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University. As a bioinformatician, he combines molecular biology and mathematical modeling of biological information with computer software design, which makes it possible to process and understand vast amounts of biological data.
Café Scientifique gatherings are informal discussions about scientific issues, current research, and news from the field. The Café Scientifique movement began in 1998 in England, and spread quickly throughout Europe and the United States. There are now more than 150 science cafés organized over 42 countries. The Laboratory’s cafés are free, open to the public, and a cash bar is available. The 2010 Summer Café Scientifique gatherings are held at 6 p.m. every Tuesday through August 24 at the Opera House.
An internationally known center for global ocean research, Bigelow Laboratory conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography examining biological productivity in the world’s oceans at the molecular level to the large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive interactions between ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions. These programs have taken Bigelow scientists around the world to every ocean and the polar seas. ####