Science Speaker Series

Each summer, the Maria Mitchell Association hosts scientists and research experts on a wide variety of scientific topics. Some of the topics highlight research here on Nantucket. Broaden your knowledge and appreciation for science and attend the MMA’s Speaker Series.

 

Thank you to our sponsors, Don Allen and Nantucket Island Resorts. and the Members of the Maria Mitchell Association. Without your support, the Science Speaker Series would not be able to take place.



"Barn Owls Were My Siblings” with Ginger Andrews

Virginia “Ginger” Andrews, daughter of acclaimed ornithologist Edith Folger Andrews, grew up in an ornithological world. With birds often in rehabilitation in the very house she lived in, she has a very unique perspective on birds. Come hear her discussion on the needs, individual personalities, and conservation of bird species she has encountered.

Wednesday, May 31
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“The Effects Of Environmental Variables On The Distribution Of Squid” with Owen Nichols

Owen Nichols is currently working with commercial weir fishermen in Chatham to study the effects of environmental variables on the distribution of longfin inshore squid (Doryteuthis pealeii) – a project begun as part of his doctoral research at SMAST and supported by the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute and grants from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation/A.V. Stout Fund and the Sounds Conservancy/Quebec-Labrador Foundation, as well as scholarships from the Friends of Chatham Waterways and the Marine Technology Society.

Wednesday, June 7
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Everything You Wanted To Know About Squirrels But Was Afraid To Ask” with Dr. John L. Koprowski

John Koprowski’s research extends from his early experience
with the behavior and ecology of wildlife in human impacted
environments, especially squirrels. Perhaps most notable for
his work on squirrels, he conducted and published two papers
on ground squirrels from undergraduate course projects,
obtained both of his graduate degrees focused on the population, behavioral, and evolutionary ecology of tree squirrels, and continues to work on squirrels as model organisms. His work has focused on the conservation of diversity of mammals, particularly squirrels, and elucidating patterns in the social and mating systems of mammals, as well as the population response of wildlife to stressors in their environment such as non-native species, human development, disease, fire, and climate change.

Wednesday, June 14
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Invasive Species and Island Ecology” with Dr. Emily Goldstein Murphy

Dr. Emily Goldstein Murphy will review why invasive species can
be so ecologically and economically harmful and why they are
particularly relevant in island ecological systems. Invasive
mammals, moved by humans, have the potential to begin
landscape altering cascades.

Wednesday, June 21
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: $Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Upcycling Plastic Flotsam into Works of Art” with Cindy Pease Roe

Cindy Pease Roe uses found marine debris to create treasured
sculptures out of former trash. The community is engaged by raising their awareness around the trash we leave behind in our oceans and the consequences of those actions. Cindy is a
Resident in Artist at the Maria Mitchell Association and is
supported from a grant from CARE for the Cape and Islands.

Monday, June 26
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“A First-Hand Account of Tides from Around the World" with Jonathan White

After nearly losing his 65’ wooden schooner in a large Alaskan tide, writer, sailor, and surfer Jonathan White vowed to understand the tide. He knew the moon had something to do with it, but what exactly? He read a book, then two. Ten years later, he had read three hundred books and criss-crossed the seven seas to see the largest, fastest, scariest, and most amazing tides in the world. With photographs, stories, and short readings, Jonathan takes his audiences on an enthralling journey into the surprising and poetic workings of the tide.

Wednesday, June 28
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

"Tracking Coral Reefs in a Changing Ocean: The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program" with Dr. Thomas Oliver

Dr. Oliver of NOAA’ s Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, HI will walk you through the ways we as a nation keep track of the beautiful, diverse coral reefs in the US Pacific. Spanning locations from Hawai’i, to Saipian, to American Samoa, and some of the world’s most remote reefs in between, the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program monitors and catalogues the corals, reef fish, and diverse coral reef organisms and how they all are responding to warming and acidifying seas. Using beautiful imagery and cutting edge tools, you’ll get to see our reefs and hear how they’re faring in a changing world.

Wednesday, July 5
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“What's Next for Climate Change in a World of 'Alternative Facts'” with Dr. Phil Duffy

How can we continue to make progress on climate change when the US federal government abdicates its responsibility to address the issue? Dr. Duffy, President and Executive Director of the Woods Hole Research Center, will discuss various vehicles for making progress in the US, as well as international mechanisms, principally the United Nations and the Paris Climate Agreement. Learn how each of these groups can help to maintain progress on climate change, and what the long-term prospects are for success – as well as consequences of failure.

Wednesday, July 12
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Creating a Responsible and Sustainable Environment" with Jill Talladay

A growing concern for the well-being of her surroundings led Jill
on a journey. She earned a Master’s in Tourism Administration
Sustainable, Destination Management from The George
Washington University in 2011 and founded CARE (Creating A
Responsible Environment) for the Cape & Islands to contribute to
the long-term sustainability of the region. In five years, CARE has funded thirty projects that contribute to footprint reduction, cultural heritage preservation and benefit our sense of place.

Wednesday, July 19
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Behind the Scenes at the MMA Natural Science Museum” with Julia Blyth

The Maria Mitchell Association has been carefully preserving and curating biological specimens from Nantucket Island for over a century; Julia Blyth has been adding to these collections for the last seven years. This presentation will showcase the diversity of species represented in the collections, discuss various methods of specimen preservation, and present some examples of how these collections are used.

Wednesday, July 26
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“A Science-Watcher's View of the Biodiversity of the Nantucket Sound” with Dave Remsen

Cape Cod sits at the crossroads between two distinct marine environments. It is also the home to a range of world-renowned scientific organizations. The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole relies on marine biodiversity to teach us about our own biology and how living things work. MBL’s David Remsen will introduce you to the amazing discoveries and stories behind some familiar (and unfamiliar) Nantucket marine life. He will also discuss how MMA and Nantucket citizens can contribute to scientific research themselves.

Wednesday, August 2
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

2017 NSF - REU Student Presentations

For more than fifty years, the Maria Mitchell Observatory (MMO) has offered summer research opportunities in
astronomy and astrophysics for students on Nantucket. Six students will present their individual research projects developed under the guidance of experienced
astronomers. Students will later present their
research at the American Astronomical Society.
The REU Program is made possible by a grant
from the National Science Foundation.

 

Wednesday, August 9
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

"The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017" with Dr. Regina Jorgenson & Jascin Finger

This joint presentation will prepare viewers to understand the scientific and historical context of the total solar eclipse occurring on August 21, 2017. Join the MMA’s Director of Astronomy and the MMA’s Deputy Director and Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives, & Special Collections as they explore the significance of this amazing celestial event. The information shared will demystify the natural phenomena and shed light onto how solar eclipses were perceived by early astronomers including Maria Mitchell herself. The presentation will include information about why we have eclipses, how to view them safely, and what to expect on August 21.

Tuesday, August 16
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Plastic Pollution - A Global Problem with Local Solutions” with Laura Ludwig

The scope of plastic pollution on the planet can be overwhelming to someone who cares about the health of our environment. Understanding the inputs of the issue – from plastics manufacturing to solid waste infrastructure and policy – can provide a way for each of us to make choices, not only with our purchasing power, but with our communication efforts and our actions. Join Laura Ludwig from the Center for Coastal Studies Marine Plastics Program and self-proclaimed “plastic reduction practitioner” to learn about regional initiatives addressing plastic pollution, including bag and polystyrene bans, recycling programs, infrastructure and transportation ideas, and policy prospects.

 

Wednesday, August 23
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“The Crispr Revolution: Applications for Biomedical Research" with Dr. Marko Horb

In the last 10 years, CRISPR-Cas has come to the forefront of scientific research and holds great promise for biomedical and biotechnological applications. This new technique allows for rapid genome editing in almost any organism. Dr. Horb will discuss the development of this technology and how his lab is applying CRISPR-Cas to model human disease in African Clawed frogs. Dr. Horb’s research is focused on deciphering the molecular signals underlying development of pancreatic beta cells in an effort to define methods to promote formation of
insulin-producing cells. His research has potential implications for beta cell replacement for the treatment of diabetes.

Wednesday, September 6
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

“Coral Reefs in a Changing World” with Dr. Loretta Roberson

As coral reefs face increasing pressures from changing climates, larger human populations near coastlines, and overfishing, as evidenced by the devastating bleaching reported on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia this year, it is imperative that we understand how and why reefs have declined before these fragile ecosystems disappear. Dr. Roberson will provide an overview on the status of reef ecosystems around the world and why we should be worried about the changes that have been observed. She will also discuss new research and initiatives at the Marine Biological Laboratory that can help us minimize or reverse the effects of a changing world seen not only in coral reefs but in marine habitats from Cape Cod to the Caribbean and beyond.

Wednesday, September 13
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

“Importance of the Microbiome: Lessons from the World of Amphibians” with Sarah McGrath

Microscopic organisms vastly outnumber macroscopic organisms and are found in every nook and cranny imaginable, even our own body. The microbiome, or community of microbes that live in or on our bodies, has been shown to influence everything from our immune system to our diet. Where do our microbes come from and how come some stick around while others simply pass through? The answers to these questions may be answered by looking at an unlikely organism, a frog. Adults may be passing specific microbes on to their offspring via “foam nests” that the frogs produce. This act gives their young a head start in the microbiome game of life. But is it how we’re born or where we live that makes the most impact on our microbiome and subsequently our health? Amphibians may hold the answer.

Wednesday, September 20
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
33 Washington Street

Members: Free
Non-members: $10

Parking in town lot

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