Program times are Friday, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
6:00 – Our Oceans, Our Selves
Adam Sacks, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
The earth is a system and humans are currently a keystone species within it. If we disappear, there will be other keystone species and the world will be different, but while we’re here we can make an extraordinary positive difference in how the system behaves. Let’s continue to figure it out.
6:30 – Secret Seas – A Story of Ocean Wonder Hidden beneath the Surface
Randi Rotjan, Boston University, New England Aquarium
In a time of growing environmental concern and crisis, it’s easy to forget that there are still places of spectacular beauty and wonder. Here, we will take a brief tour of the current state of the oceans, with a focus and emphasis on places that are thriving and offer perspective and hope.
7:00 – An End to Floods, Droughts and Other Aqueous Misdirections
Judy Schwartz, Author of Water in Plain Sight and Cows Save the Planet
In a healthy ecosystem, when water falls on land it stays in the neighborhood for a long time. It’s performing essential tasks on behalf of living things before finally making its way to the ocean. Because of ways humans have managed land since the beginning of agriculture, especially since the industrial revolution, water now lands on packed and ruined soils, rushing to the seas, leaving floods and droughts in its wake. Judy explains how we can manage the water cycle very differently, with broad benefits to biodiversity and a livable planet.
7:30 – BREAK
7:45 – The Glory of Cashes Ledge and the First New England Marine Monument
Sarah Valencik and Sarah Zeiberg
Cashes Ledge is an underwater mountain range with steep peaks 80 miles east of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and home to a vibrant diversity of life. It is a dangerous area for fishing and has thus escaped most human exploitation. It’s an example of the richness in the oceans that used to be – and can be again. Our speakers will give us a tour of the great beauty and marvels of Cashes Ledge and the Marine Monuments.
8:30 – Q&A
9:00 – CLOSE – See you in the morning!
Saturday Morning – 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
9:00 – Where did the Oceans come from? What can be their future?
Homeschool Symbiosis Team – Jamila dePeiza-Kern, Annie Selle,
Hayden Latimer-Ireland, Lynus Erickson
The Earth from space is a remarkable blue color. Where did the water come from to create our planet’s beautiful living oceans? What part will the oceans play in our future? This bright and determined group of young people will share their thoughts about future possibilities they want to help create – the rest of us will do well to listen up!
9:30 – Invertebrates of the Sea
George Buckley is Assistant Director of Sustainability at Harvard Extension School, with decades of experience swimming with many creatures of the oceans
Invertebrates, animals without spines and bones, comprise up to 97% of all animal species. Sea invertebrates include insects, lobsters, snails, clams, octopuses, sea urchins and worms. Today George will tell us about some of those intriguing creatures.
10:00 – From Sea to Land to Sea: What It Means to Live and Evolve
in One, the Other or Both
Mark McMenamin is a pioneering professor of geology and paleontology at Mt. Holyoke College
Life evolved in wet places – and yet conquered some of the most inhospitable lands around the world, and changed them to its own liking. Just how on earth (!) did living things do that? And what are the implications for how we restore ecosystems?
10:30 – Q&A
10:45 – BREAK
11:00 – Deep Ocean Life
Peter Girguis, Harvard University
The deep sea is the largest ecosystem on Earth, and yet we have literally seen less of the seafloor than the surface of the moon. Still, we know that the deep sea and its denizens play a critical, if not major role, in maintaining the health of our planet. This recognition of its value, and our awareness of how little we know about the deep sea, drives modern oceanographic research, and promises to shed light on how the ocean supports all life on earth.
11:30 – The Ocean Restorer: From Dead Zones to Zones Alive!
John Todd, Pioneer in Biological Water Purification
The Ocean Restorer is a catamaran containing four different ecosystems to purify water as it goes. We can create a culture of ocean stewardship that assists the seas in restoring the great oceanic bounty with which they used to bless us.
Noon – Q&A
12:15 – LUNCH
Saturday Afternoon, 1:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1:15 – Biomimicry, Biodiversity and Restoring Urban Coastal Habitat
Anamarija Frankic, Green Harbors Project, U Mass Boston, U Zadar (Croatia), Biomimicry NE
Anamarija Frankic and her students have been involved in research and restoration of habitats for oysters, a keystone species. Her work has included some of the most degraded coves and waterways in Boston Harbor, such as Savin Hill Cove near the UMass campus in Dorchester.
1:45 – Whales as Keystone Species – Cycling Nutrients, Carbon and Heat
Joe Roman, Gund Institute, University of Vermont
The great whales include the largest animals in the history of life on Earth. With high metabolic demands and large populations, whales probably had a strong influence on marine ecosystems before the advent of industrial whaling: as consumers of fish and invertebrates, as prey to other large-bodied predators, as reservoirs and vertical and horizontal vectors for nutrients, and as detrital sources of energy and habitat in the deep sea. The decline in great whale numbers, perhaps as high as 90%, has likely altered the structure and function of the oceans, but recovery is possible and in many cases is already underway. It is even conceivable that increased whale populations will have a positive effect on global warming.
2:15 The Oceans, Global Warming, and the Carbon Cycle
Tom Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Global warming has changed ocean circulation patterns world-wide, and is reducing marine ecosystem productivity, but these effects are not included in climate models. Coral reefs, the most biodiverse marine ecosystems and the most sensitive of all ecosystems to global warming, have already lost most of their corals. Failure to separate gross and net sinks has caused great confusion about the role of marine ecosystems in the carbon cycle, resulting in marine carbon sink proposals that are neither practical nor feasible while ignoring those that are. The potential role of the oceans in balancing the global carbon cycle will be evaluated and compared with the land.
2:45 – Forage Fish and Trophic Cascades
Katharine Deuel, Pew Charitable Trust
When life disappears at the bottom of the food chain the entire ecosystem is affected. That’s what’s happening now with menhaden, anchovies, sardines and other forage fish. Learn about these fascinating relationships and how we can co-exist with ocean life in a way that is beneficial to all creatures of the sea (and land, including humans).
3:05 – Young Climate Heroes Get to Work!
Mari McBride and Alice Vandebrook, Save Tomorrow
Three determined girls saw the need to move their town of Lexington, Massachusetts to climate action, prevailed upon Town Meeting to start adding solar to town buildings – and succeeded. Two of them will tell us their story.
3:15 – Q&A
3:30 – BREAK
3:45 – Microbes of the Depths
Peter Girguis, Harvard University
How many species of bacteria are there – a million? a billion? a trillion? Can one even apply the concept of species to these extraordinarily adaptable and promiscuous forms of life? What are they like? And what is their impact on the terrestrial biosphere – including the climate? Pete Girguis will peel back yet another layer of the infinite ocean onion for our inquiring eyes.
4:15 – River Herring Restoration: A Keystone in Ecological Recovery
Dwayne Shaw, Downeast Salmon Federation
River herring (alewives) are important to the ecology of freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments. They provide an alternative prey item for osprey, eagles, great blue heron, loons and other fish eating birds at the same time juvenile Atlantic salmon are migrating downriver. River Herring provide cover for upstream migrating adult salmon that may be preyed on by eagles or osprey, and for young salmon in the estuaries and open ocean that might be captured by seals. It is important to understand that river herring tie our ocean, rivers and lakes together, providing vital nutrients and forage needed to make healthy watersheds. Between and within those various habitats, everything – birds, mammals and other fish – eats river herring.
4:45 – Rivers and Eco Machines
John Todd, Todd Ecologics
John and Nancy Todd founded the New Alchemy Institute and Oceans Arks International. John invented Eco Machines for purifying polluted toxic water. One of the ways they learned how to build Eco Machines was from watching nature’s extraordinary purification tools, Rivers. Eco machines, like rivers, perform similar functions to restore biodiverse estuaries, shorelines and oceans. John will explain how.
5:15 – Q&A
5:30 Have a wonderful dinner and night on the town!
Sunday Morning, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
9:00 – What Made the Ice Ages Possible? We Can Do It Again:
Let’s Make Surface Area to End the Drought and Cool the Climate
Jim Laurie, Chief Scientist, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Have you ever thought about surface area in an ecosystem? What, you haven’t?! Well, here’s your chance to discover how fascinating it is. Surface area is where biological and chemical processes take place. Billions of acres of bare soil, pavement, and even trawled ocean floors are flat, simple and devoid of life. Fungi, rodents, insects, plants and many other living things create maximal surface area to slow the water cycle and rehydrate the land. Working with these complex ripples of life can lead to a future of rising water tables, abundant life and returning glaciers. That is so cool!
9:30 – Large-Scale Marine Ecosystem Restoration
Tom Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Marine ecosystems are now so badly damaged that fisheries and biodiversity management strategies focused on marine protected areas can’t work unless they restore severely impaired ecosystem productivity and capacity to store carbon. New restoration methods have been developed that stimulate natural ecosystem metabolism and biodiversity, allowing rapid restoration of coral reefs, fisheries, eroded beaches, oyster reefs, sea grasses, salt marshes, and mangroves, and provide a new paradigm for sustainable mariculture. These methods can provide the most cost-effective global carbon sinks for stabilizing global CO2 and temperature at safe levels, and allow adaptation to, and reversal of, global warming and sea level rise.
10:00 Acid Waters
Mick Devin, Marine Researcher and Maine State Legislator
Coastal acidification has the potential to negatively impact Maine’s commercial fishing industry (valued at over one billion dollars annually). Other sectors of Maine’s marine economy, such as recreational fishing and tourism, could be affected, too. Mainers are taking innovative approaches to address and mitigate coastal acidification. These include using sea grass beds as refugia, growing macro algae, introducing crushed bivalve shells to areas experiencing lower pH (higher acid) levels, and creating a citizen scientist network to collect data and better understand coastal acidification. Join us to learn what Mainers are doing to protect their coastal resources from acidification.
10:30 – Q&A (combined with 12:15 Q&A, see below)
10:45 – BREAK
11:00 – Ocean Genome Legacy
Dan Distel, Director, Ocean Genome Legacy, Northeastern University
Ocean Genome Legacy (OGL) is a nonprofit marine research center and genome bank dedicated to exploring and preserving the threatened biological diversity of the sea. Its mission is to collect, describe, and preserve the DNA from the vast diversity of marine species and to make these materials widely available for scientific research.
11:15 – Ocean Permaculture
Brian von Herzen, The Climate Foundation
The Climate Foundation team has developed “marine permaculture” systems. These floating platforms use wave energy to restore overturning circulation to pre- global warming levels. The restored nutrient cycling encourages kelp and other algae to growth. The array provides a submerged structure onto which kelp will attach. In essence, this approach mimics the kelp ecosystem in an aquatic desert. The kelp forest will provide habitat for forage fish, who will feed off the replenished plankton. Game fish will, in turn, eat forage fish and on up the food chain to tuna and sharks. What was once an aquatic desert can once again thrive with life.
11:45 – Amazing Mangroves and the Global Climate
Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Project
Mangroves used to be thought of as “useless, mosquito infested swamps” without value. Now mangroves are seen as essential in combating climate change and consequent sea level rise. Mangroves are being lauded as vital nurseries for marine life, important habitat for millions of migratory birds, and essential buffers against erosion, storm waves and hurricanes.
12:15 – Q&A
12:30 – Lunch
Sunday Afternoon, 1:30 – 5 p.m.
1:30 – The Un-Conference
At our weekend conferences we have ad hoc one-hour workshops led by any participants and speakers who would like to present on topics of their choice. We’ll have a white-board and people will have an opportunity throughout the weekend to sign up to give workshops on Sunday afternoon. This section has been a favorite since we began weekend conferences two years ago – be sure to plan to attend!
4:30 – Closing Remarks – Where Do We Go from Here . . .