UW News

January 31, 2008

Arctic lecture on Feb. 12

Last fall ice covered less of the Arctic Ocean than had ever been recorded before and the temperatures of the ocean rose as much as 5 degrees C above average.

Those dramatic changes and why they matter to the rest of the world will be the subject of a lecture Feb. 12, the first of three in the series “Arctic Adventure: Ocean Tales of Currents and Creatures.”

Rebecca Woodgate, a physical oceanographer with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, studies the circulation of the Arctic Ocean, the interactions between ice and the ocean and the effects of the polar oceans on the world’s climate. She has worked aboard ice breakers and led expeditions to the Bering Strait and the heart of the Arctic. Her lecture will be at 7 p.m. in Kane Hall Room 210.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, are being sponsored by the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and the Alumni Association. Advance registration is requested; go online <a href=https://go.washington.edu/uwaa/events/2008cofs_lectures/details.tcl>here</a> or call (206) 543-0540.

Whales specially adapted to live in the Arctic and the humans that have been living alongside them for centuries are the subjects of the second lecture in the series on Feb. 26, again starting at 7 p.m. Kristin Laidre, a research scientist with the Applied Physics Laboratory, will talk about narwhals, belugas and bowhead whales and how the harsh conditions on the Arctic influence their numbers and behavior. Just last week her work was featured on the television show “Good Morning America.”

From the largest predators in the Arctic, the lecture series moves to some of the tiniest inhabitants, the microorganisms that live in the ocean and sea ice. Jody Deming, a professor of oceanography, will talk on “Some Like It Cold: Extremophiles in the Arctic,” March 11, 7 p.m. Deming studies microorganisms that not only survive but thrive in some of the coldest habitats on the planet. It’s work that helps us understand the limits of life on our own planet and should help us as we search for life elsewhere in the solar system.