Friends of Long Marine Lab will honor photographer Frans Lanting with Global Oceans Award

The Friends of Long Marine Lab will present a Global Oceans Award to renowned nature photographer and conservationist Frans Lanting at the group's annual Gourmet Dinner benefit event on Sunday, March 20. The award recognizes Lanting for his outstanding contributions to public awareness of the natural environment.

Awards will also be presented to two promising marine sciences students at UC Santa Cruz. The Global Oceans Awards were established in 2004 to recognize outstanding individuals who are making a difference for the world's oceans.

UCSC Chancellor Denice D. Denton will be a special guest at the Gourmet Dinner, which raises funds for the education programs at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. The dinner, held this year at the Bittersweet Bistro in Rio Del Mar, has long been one of the most popular fundraising events for the Friends of Long Marine Lab. The event will be hosted this year by the proprietors of the Bittersweet Bistro, chef Thomas Vinolus and his wife Elizabeth.

Lanting, a photographer-in-residence at National Geographic magazine, has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. He portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in the far corners of the Earth. Lanting serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and is a UCSC Foundation trustee.

Olivia Cheriton and Itchung Cheung, both graduate students in ocean sciences, will also receive awards at the dinner. They had the top-ranked proposals among the 19 students who received research support from the Friends of Long Marine Lab Student Research Awards this year. These awards provided more than $11,000 in total funding for undergraduate and graduate student research projects in the marine sciences.

Cheriton is studying the dynamics of thin layers of ocean water in Monterey Bay that are associated with the periodic upwelling of cold, deep water and subsequent "relaxation" events. These oceanographic conditions play a significant role in the life cycles of various species of rockfish. Cheriton is working with Margaret McManus, who was an assistant professor of ocean sciences at UCSC and is now at the University of Hawaii.

Cheung, who works with professor of ocean sciences Mary Silver, is studying harmful algal blooms. In particular, he is investigating possible marine toxin contamination in dungeness and rock crabs in Monterey Bay.

For information about the Global Oceans Gourmet Dinner and Awards Gala, contact Lisa M. Rose at (831) 459-3694.