Seymour Center presents lecture on Gulf oil spill on Sunday, October 17

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Mike Beck

Mike Beck, lead marine scientist for the Nature Conservancy and a research associate at UC Santa Cruz, will discuss the Gulf oil spill and its impacts on coastal habitats in a public lecture at the Seymour Center at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 17. Beck's talk, "Oil, Oyster Reefs, and the Gulf of Mexico," is part of the Science Sunday lecture series at the Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory. The event is free with paid admission or membership.

Beck is an expert in the conservation and restoration of oyster reefs and near-shore habitats, and he has worked on conservation in the Gulf of Mexico for over 20 years.  According to Beck, "The Gulf of Mexico is one of the few places on earth where the health of the environment is so obviously linked to the health of the economy and the community on such a vast scale. Eight-five percent of the world's oyster reefs have been lost, and the remaining few are one of the most imperiled marine habitats. The oyster reefs of the Gulf are not merely the best in the nation; they are the best in the world, a global treasure. Yet, even in the Gulf, some 50 to 90 percent of the oyster reefs have been lost, and that was before BP's oil spill."

The Deepwater Horizon spill presents a new and significant threat to the Gulf of Mexico region. The full effects of the spill on the environment and the economy of the Gulf Coast remain unclear. "What it clear is that this accident will have a continued and potentially long-term impact on the region," Beck said.

Having just returned from the Gulf Coast, Beck will reflect on the emerging and conflicting information from the various public and private organizations studying the region. His talk will provide up-to-date information on the oil spill and efforts to restore the Gulf's habitats to enhance fisheries, water quality, coastal protection, and recreational and natural resources.

Located in Santa Cruz on the bluffs overlooking Monterey Bay, the Seymour Center provides exciting and engaging ocean education programs for the visiting public and for students of all ages. It is dedicated to educating youth, families, and the general public about the role science plays in the understanding and conservation of the world's oceans. The Seymour Center is open six days a week, year-round, and serves more than 58,000 people each year.

For more information about Science Sunday, contact the Seymour Center at (831) 459-3800.