URI oceanographer to speak on ‘Jaws revisited,’ Nov. 17

Posted on
Free public lecture about microscopic predators begins at 6 p.m.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – October 27, 2015 – Susanne Menden-Deuer, associate professor at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, will present a free public lecture on Nov. 17 entitled “Jaws Revisited” about microscopic predators in the world’s oceans.

The event, sponsored by URI’s Friends of Oceanography, will begin at 6 p.m. and take place in the Coastal Institute Auditorium, South Ferry Road, Narragansett on the URI Bay Campus. The lecture will be followed by a reception in the adjacent Studio Blue.

According to Menden-Deuer, few people appreciate that every drop of water contains beautiful and diverse specimens of microscopic planktonic predators. In her lecture, she will engage the audience in an exploration of the role zooplankton play in the marine food web and how, despite their small size, they have a large footprint, including a role regulating climate.

“My goal is to introduce the audience to different types of predators and show the mind boggling ways in which these predators feed and survive,” she said. “Overall, plankton are key to human survival and well-being, including producing the oxygen we breathe and forming the basis of all fish and shellfish we harvest from the ocean. And, as we are learning now, plankton are of central importance in the global climate.”

Menden-Deuer, one of several URI faculty members who study plankton in the marine environment, joined the URI faculty in 2008 following stints as a research fellow at Princeton University and a lecturer at Western Washington State University. Her research combines at-sea measurements of plankton production and mortality in temperate and polar oceans with laboratory measurements of plankton behavior and physiology and computer modeling to establish links between microscopic events and macroscopic phenomena.

She earned a master’s and doctorate in oceanography at the University of Washington and a master’s degree from the University of Bonn in Germany. She is a science mentor at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, a member of the editorial boards of several journals, a member of the board of directors of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and a volunteer judge with the National Ocean Science Bowl. She also collaborates on science communication with students and faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design.

For more information about the lecture, contact Deb Coty at 401-874-6841 or email debicoty@uri.edu.