‘Oceans and Human Health’ the topic of next URI Vetlesen lecture, Mar. 1

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KINGSTON, R.I. – February 22, 2011 – Edward Laws, professor of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University, will present a lecture entitled “Oceans and Human Health: The Urgent Need for Sustainable Resource Management” at the University of Rhode Island on Mar. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

His presentation, in Edward’s Auditorium on the URI Kingston campus, is part of the University’s Vetlesen lecture series on “The State of the Oceans” in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Graduate School of Oceanography. The event is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Laws will discuss how to maintain the oceans in the face of increasingly damaging exploitation.

“What is disturbing about the climate changes projected for the next several centuries is the abruptness of the changes and the fact that the changes reflect non-sustainable use of natural resources by human beings,” he said. “Furthermore, the projected changes in the ocean/atmosphere system will persist for thousands of years because natural restoring forces are unresponsive on a timeframe of decades to centuries.”

After teaching for 30 years at the University of Hawaii, Laws joined the faculty at the LSU School of the Coast and Environment, where he serves as chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences. He also serves as the director of the Pacific Research Center for Marine Biomedicine, one of four centers of oceans and human health supported by the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Laws has published more than 140 papers in scholarly journals and is the author of a textbook on aquatic pollution that has been translated into numerous languages. He received his B.A. in chemistry and his Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard University.

The lecture series is sponsored by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, with individual lectures supported by the URI College of Arts & Sciences, the Harrington School of Communication and Media, and Rhode Island Sea Grant. The series is coordinated by Professors Steven D’Hondt, Arthur Spivack and Judith Swift, and Sunshine Menezes, director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting.

The remaining speakers in the series are:

Mar. 8 – Christopher Reddy, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on “Communicating Science: Lessons Learned from an Environmental Crisis.”

March 29 – Robert Ballard, URI professor of oceanography, on “The Last Great Frontier.”

Apr. 5 – Norbert Wu, independent filmmaker and photographer of the marine environment, on “Exploring the World’s Notable and Threatened Underwater habitats.”

Apr. 12 – Deborah Kelley, professor of marine geology and geophysics at the University of Washington, on “Measuring Change Across the Global Ocean.”

Apr. 26 – Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. senator, on “Steering a Course Toward a National Ocean Policy.”

For more information about the lecture series, visit www.uri.edu/vetlesen or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.