THE 2011 MONDAY MORNING MIND WALK LECTURE SERIES
By Karen Watts & Marlys McPherson
It’s that time of year again! Mind Walks are upon us, and we’ve got a great lineup for you in 2011. Mind Walks are for lifelong learners who love natural history. Speakers are experts in their fields and welcome audience questions. Topics cover a broad range—there’s literally something for everybody. This is a fabulous opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn more about your community and the world at large. Mark your calendars!
Mind Walk lectures are held in the auditorium at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History every Monday morning from 10:15 AM to noon, January through March. CCNHA members may attend free of charge. Non-members must pay $3.00, the standard museum entry fee.
Date: January 3, 2011
Topic: Whales and Marine Animals Living Near Morro Bay
Come learn about the marine mammals that live in the ocean waters off the San Luis Obispo County coast. At least four species of baleen whales (humpback, blue, minke, and gray) and a whole variety of dolphins, porpoises, and other marine mammals call the Central Coast waters home. The talk will feature photos taken by local nature photographers.
Rouvaishyana has been the Manager of the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History since 2005, and a State Park Interpreter since 1989. He has been working weekends locally as a whale-watching guide since 2007 and has accrued more than 100 days at sea, watching for these amazing animals in many different conditions, but always with a sense of wonder about what the ocean has to offer.
Date: January 10, 2011
Leader: George Trevelyn
Topic: Oyster Farming on Morro Bay
Learn about oyster diversity and distribution, where and how they are grown today, the history of oyster farming and the ecology of oyster farms. The future of oyster culture will be discussed along with challenges such as pollution and biotoxins.
George Trevelyn has a BS in Aquatic Biology, an MS in animal science and a PhD in ecology studying mussel culture. He and his family moved to Cayucos in 1991 where he took a job at the Abalone Farm, Inc. as manager of research and development. In 2009 George took advantage of an opportunity to buy an old oyster farm on Morro Bay and started Grassy Bar Oyster Company where he is “having the time of his life.”
January 17, 2011
How Will California Birds React to Climate Change?
What is the prospect for California birds during a period of climate change? Find out about Audubon’s Important Birding Areas (IBAs) in California, how they provide critical habitat, and why future climate models indicate that they will protect many sensitive bird species. Learn how habitats and bird species may have to adapt in the future.
Andrea Jones has been Audubon California’s Important Bird Areas Program Director since 2006. She has degrees from the University of Massachusetts in Ornithology and Wildlife Conservation. Prior to working for Audubon California, Andrea worked for Massachusetts Audubon for 14 years, directing the Coastal Waterbird Program and coordinating the IBA and Grassland Bird Conservation programs.
January 24, 2011
Jeff will review basic seismology concepts and explain how they apply to the structural geology of San Luis Obispo County.
Jeff Grover earned an M.S. in Geosciences from the University of Arizona in 1982. He has worked as a geologist for Unocal Petroleum and a Project Geologist for Grover-Hollingsworth and Associates. Since 1988 he has taught various courses in Geology at Cuesta College, and spent summers as a naturalist/geologist in southeast Alaska, the Grand Canyon, and the Central Coast.
January 31, 2011
Most of our CO2 emissions are absorbed by the oceans and are causing important changes in ocean chemistry, leading to ocean acidification. Jim will address the following questions: How will ocean organisms react to ocean acidification? What will this mean for marine communities and ecosystem services society depends upon for fisheries, aquaculture, and other activities?
After training at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jim Barry joined the staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in the 1990s where he is a Senior Scientist. His studies on ocean acidification investigate the effects of higher ocean carbon dioxide levels on the physiology and performance of marine animals. In addition to publishing over 100 scientific papers, Dr. Barry has helped inform Congress on ocean acidification, ocean carbon sequestration, and climate change.
February 7, 2011
Have the Marine Protected Areas Affected the Local Populations of Nearshore Fishes?
In 2007 the state established a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) along the central coast of California. The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program has involved hundreds of fishermen to help monitor the new MPAs. Using data collected for the past four years, we will explore the impact of MPAs on near-shore fish species.
Dean Wendt is a biology professor at Cal Poly where his research is centered on coastal marine biology. He is founding and current director of the San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance (SLOSEA, www.slosea.org), which was identified by The Joint Oceans Commission Initiative as an organization that is bringing innovative approaches to coastal management along the west coast of the United States.
February 14, 2011
Under-Loved but Loveable Seaweeds
Beginning with an overview of marine algae (seaweed), Laurie will tell us about local diversity and algal communities. From there, she will discuss the rich biodiversity of marine invertebrates living in calcified seaweeds called rhodoliths throughout the world.
Laurie McConico is the faculty marine biologist at Cuesta College. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC San Diego and a graduate degree from Moss Landing Marine Labs (Monterey Bay) where she studied algae. Laurie has traveled extensively, with her travels almost always having a scientific slant. She likes convincing her students that science is not boring and that seaweeds should not be underappreciated by the masses.
February 21, 2011 (date may change to Feb 28; check for updates)
Derek M. Bayliss, Captain/Crew
Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans
February 28, 2011 (date may change to Feb 21; check for updates)
Our Hidden Gem—the Historic Pt. San Luis Lighthouse
Find out why one of our treasured historic landmarks was built and the history behind the Point San Luis Lighthouse. View the restoration efforts that have taken place over the past 5 years and see what the future holds for this hidden gem in San Luis Obispo County. Learn about different ways to access the Lighthouse, from docent led hikes on the Pecho Coast Trail, riding on the new trolley, or by water.
Paul O’Connor is a retired Fire Captain with 30 years of service working for the California Department of Forestry. He now works as a tour guide at Central Coast Outdoors, volunteers at the Marine Mammal Center, and is a hike/school docent for California State Parks. Paul became a keeper at the Point San Luis Lighthouse shortly after retirement where he has been involved in restoring the buildings, giving tours, leading hikes, and recently driving the newly acquired trolley to the Lighthouse.
March 7, 2011
Weather Forecasting 101
John Lindsey will teach us the basics of weather and show us how he puts together his forecast each day. You will learn how to read pressure gradients, temperature, wind and rain to help you understand weather forecasts.
Marine meteorologist John Lindsey has been forecasting weather and oceanographic conditions along the Central Coast of California for over 17 years. He is a corporate relations representative for Pacific Gas and Electric Company at Diablo Canyon power plant.
March 14, 2011
Wizardry and Seduction—Lessons from the Plants
From the earliest evidence of sexual reproduction over 1 billion years ago, plants have evolved hundreds of variations in techniques for mating and distributing their offspring. Flowers, fruits, biochemistry, and co-evolved partners all play a part. Even those late arrivals, humans, participate in the game. Join Barb Renshaw in an investigation of the sex lives of plants.
Barb Renshaw is a California State Parks docent and an amateur botanist. A decision to focus her passion for art on plants led her to develop a vast working knowledge of local plants and their strategies for reproduction and survival. Barb is a graduate of Stanford University and a former software engineer.
March 21, 2011
Fire Ecology in Big Sur
Fire ecology attempts to understand how recurring fire affects native flora and fauna. The fire ecology of Big Sur is particularly complex because of the wide range of micro-environments, plant communities, and animal habitats. This talk will discuss what we know (and don’t know) about the fire ecology of the major vegetation communities of the Big Sur region. You will also learn about how fire affects some of Big Sur’s treasured animal species.
Lester Rowntree grew up on the Monterey Peninsula and was first introduced to Big Sur by his grandmother (of the same name), the pioneering native plant ecologist and author. After graduate school at the University of Oregon, he taught geography and environmental sciences at San Jose State University for 35 years until he took early retirement to study and write about the natural history of Central California.
March 28, 2011
Photo Favorites of Local Photographers
Feast your eyes on the favorite photos of many local photographers. View exceptional photographs of flora and fauna including birds, plants, marine organisms and several surprises seldom seen. Many of the photos are award winners. You will meet the talented photographers who will be on hand to answer questions and share their secrets.
Jerry Kirkhart is a California State Parks docent and a retired college biology/zoology instructor. His passion for nature and photography blend to bring us this remarkable collection of local talent.
Leaves Within Leaves
Bee Was Checking Me Out
Baby Blue Eyes
Photos by Jerry Kirkhart