Contact: Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment at (360) 650-3520.
BELLINGHAM – Marine Scientist Sylvia Yang of Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center will present “Understanding Resilience in Washington’s Seagrass Beds – Collecting Scientific Data for Coastal Management” as part of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 in CF 125 on Western’s campus.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
Seagrasses are widespread coastal marine plants that provide important ecosystem services, such as reducing water currents and waves, stabilizing sediment, and forming habitat for other organisms.
Globally, seagrass habitats are disappearing at rates that exceed rainforest loss, necessitating studies to understand the ecological role of seagrasses, causes of decline, and the process of recovery. Zostera marina, the dominant seagrass in Washington state, is a managed species. Managers balance its role as critical nursery habitat for Dungeoness crab, herring, and salmon with increasing impacts from human land-use changes. This is a difficult task since the set of environmental conditions Z. marina lives in varies from place to place, as do the features of the plant that make it resilient to change.
Yang will discuss scientific research on possible reasons for these differences and what the data suggest about the potential for eelgrass habitats in our local waters to resist and recover from disturbance. She studies the ecology of coastal habitats, such as native eelgrass beds in the Pacific Northwest and invasive cordgrass meadows in San Francisco Bay.
The remaining fall quarter speakers in the Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series are:
- Nov. 9: Jack Nisbet and David Douglas will present “A Naturalist at Work: An Illustrated Exploration Across Two Centuries in the Pacific Northwest.”
- Nov. 16: Screening (excerpts) and discussion of the film “American Meat” with director-producer Graham Meriwether.
- Nov. 30: The Future of Land, Land Trusts, and Food. Panelists: Laura Ridenour (Sustainable Connections), Steve Hollenhorst (dean of Western’s Huxley College of the Environment), Jim Ashby (Community Food Co-op), Stephen Trinkaus (owner of Terra Organica and the Bellingham Public Market).
- Dec. 7: Scott Miles and Rebekah Green of Western’s Resilience Institute will speak on Japan's recovery in housing and critical infrastructure following its devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Anyone interested in these topics is encouraged to come and participate; the presentation will include a question-and-answer period. The speaker series is held by Western's Huxley College of the Environment to bring together the environmentally minded community and other interested members of the WWU and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.
For more information, please contact the main office of Huxley College of the Environment, at (360) 650-3520.
Western’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized national leader in producing the next generation of environmental stewards. The College’s academic programs reflect a broad view of the physical, biological, social and cultural world. This innovative and interdisciplinary approach makes Huxley unique. The College has earned international recognition for the quality of its programs.