PBS scientist to launch CCMI lecture series

The 2007 Central Caribbean Marine Institute Lecture Series begins this Saturday with a talk by world-renowned scientist Dr. Roger Hanlon.

The lecture at West Bay’s The Cracked Conch restaurant on ‘Kings of Camouflage – Unveiling the Mysteries of Mimicry’ will focus on cephalopods: squid, cuttlefish and octopus – and their sophisticated system of colour change.

Tickets, priced CI$50 a head, cover beverages and appetisers. All funds raised during the 2007 Lecture series will go towards creating more research initiatives that will further the CCMI’s mandate of ‘saving reefs and the world around us’.

A NATO postdoctoral Fellow of Cambridge University, Dr. Hanlon has been studying cephalopods since encountering an octopus on a coral reef in Panama in 1968. Currently concentrating exclusively on research, he works to understand the brain and behaviour of these unique creatures of the sea. His recent documentary with NOVA, ‘Kings of Camouflage’, was shown at the beginning of April on PBS.

In his April 28th presentation, Dr. Hanlon will use underwater video and digital still images to demonstrate the cephlapods’ dynamic appearance and describe some of the fascinating aspects of how they co-ordinate such complex behaviours.

While in the Cayman Islands, Dr. Hanlon will be conducting research on the principles of octopus and grouper camouflage. It’s noteworthy that the latter has never been studied or documented in the scientific literature. Grand Cayman has some excellent shallow habitat for octopus and Little Cayman has substantial protected areas in which groupers are still present in decent numbers.

While in Little Cayman, Dr. Hanlon will conduct his research from CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre. The CCMI advisory noted that studies conducted by researchers and graduate students at the LCRC are contributing to the longest continuous ecological monitoring programmes for these islands.

FYI

For more information on the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, visit www.reefresearch.org

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