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The World is Blue: Sylvia A. Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence; Founder, Mission Blue

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
12:00 AM
Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor

More has been learned about the nature of the ocean in the past century than during all preceding human history, but at the same time, more has been lost owing to the growing impact that people are having on the sea through what is being put into it, and what is being taken out.

Less than 5% of the ocean floor has been explored or mapped with the degree of accuracy known for Mars, but enough is known to realize that in the past fifty years, nearly half of the coral reefs have been lost or have seriously declined, 90% of many commercially-fished species are gone and more than 400 dead zones have appeared in coastal zones globally. Rapid global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other troubling trends require urgent attention.

This presentation will consider new technologies and a new era of ocean exploration vital to understand these phenomena , as well as the changes in ocean chemistry, biodiversity and the composition and structure of marine ecosystems, with special reference to the present and future consequences to humankind.

An impassioned speaker, winner of the 2009 TED Prize, Earle will also touch on her work as a woman scientist and explorer. A book signing will follow the talk.

Earle has led more than 70 expeditions worldwide involving in excess of 7000 hours underwater in connection with her research. An expert on the impact of oil spills, she led several research trips during the Gulf War and following the spills of the ships, Exxon Valdez and Mega Borg. She is the author of more than 175 publications and has spoken in more than 60 countries. Earle was named Time magazine 's first "hero for the planet" in 1998.

Sponsored by the Water Theme Semester, Women in Science and Engineering Program, Program in the Environment (Goldring Lecture), ADVANCE, Center for Education of Women Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund and the Exhibit Museum of Natural History.