Next Talk in Plant Restoration Series at Yale University Will Focus on Sewage and Massive Fish Kills

The next speaker in the semester-long Distinguished Lecturer lunchtime series “The Restoration Agenda: Focus on Plants” is JoAnn Burkholder, professor of aquatic botany and marine sciences at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Her talk on Wednesday, Feb. 17, is titled “Algae, Pig Farms and Massive Fish Kills.”

These weekly talks at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES) are from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium at Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St. The public is invited. Bring a brownbag lunch for the discussion following the talk. For registration information, contact Aimlee D. Laderman, Ph.D., lecturer in wetland ecology and research affiliate at the F&ES, telephone 432-3335, or e-mail aimlee.laderman

Burkholder, a microbiologist and a Pew Fellow, earned a B.S. degree in zoology from Iowa State University, M.S. degree in aquatic botany from the University of Rhode Island, and Ph.D. degree in botanical limnology from Michigan State University. Her research over the past 25 years has emphasized the nutritional ecology of algae, dinoflagellates and seagrasses, especially the effects of nutrient over-enrichment on algal blooms and seagrass disappearance.

Since co-discovering the toxic dinoflagellate, Pfiesteria piscicida, in 1991, she has worked to characterize its complex life cycle and behavior, its stimulation by sewage and other forms of nutrient pollution, and its chronic, sublethal as well as lethal impacts on commercially important finfish and shellfish in estuaries and aquaculture facilities.

Burkholder has authored or co-authored 25 of the 26 peer-reviewed, international publications available on Pfiesteria. Aside from research and teaching, she spends much of her time in environmental education outreach activities spanning age groups from first-graders to the elderly. Burkholder has held policy-advising positions on the Governor-appointed North Carolina Coastal Futures Committee, and as chair of the Habitat and Water Quality Committee on the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission.

In addition, she served as science adviser on a Governor-appointed Pfiesteria Commission in Maryland, and received an Admiral of the Chesapeake award from the Governor for her assistance. She has also received numerous awards for her research and environmental education efforts, most recently the Conservationist of the Year Award in Science from the National Wildlife Federation, and the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This is the fourth year for the Yale School of Forestry “Restoration Agenda” lecture series. Co-sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration and the New Haven Land Trust, the lectures are designed to be of particular value to people involved in all aspects of natural resource management.

Lunchtime discussions following the talks provide an informal forum to encourage interaction among community members, government officials, and Yale students and faculty. With additional support from the Watershed Fund of the Regional Water Authority and Roots Inc., the lectures present state-of-the-art perspectives on the prevention and repair of environmental degradation.

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