UW's Dennis Willows to Speak on the Neurobiology of Sea Slugs April 26
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Dennis Willows, Emeritus professor of Biology at the University of Washington, will discuss his field work with nudibranch mollusks as part of the WWU Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in Academic Center West room AW-204 on the Western Washington University campus.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
Willows' research is centered on the way nervous systems are wired to drive coherent behavior. Nudibranchs not surprisingly orient to optimize finding and capturing sea pens, their prey. How do these sea slugs do it in a complex sensory environment where odor cues are carried on water currents driven by tides, seasons, local geography and changing climate factors? Evidence from field work using SCUBA as well as electrophysiological recording from individual brain cells suggest they detect the earth’s feeble magnetic field and use it to determine the shoreward direction. This information also provides critical cues to the location of their prey.
The Huxley College Speaker Series, sponsored by Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the WWU and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.
WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized leader in producing the next generation of environmental professionals and stewards. Huxley’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum reflects a broad view of the physical, biological, social, and cultural world, and has earned international recognition for quality.
For more information, please contact WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment at (360) 650-2949 or visit the website: https://huxley.wwu.edu/huxley-college-speaker-series.