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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Monterey Bay Aquarium Chief Scientist to Deliver Musselman Natural History Lecture

The vast, dark sea is actually full of light flashes produced by living organisms from bacteria to vertebrates. The phenomenon is known as bioluminescence. But what makes these marine beings glow, and how does it help them survive their foreboding environment?

Steve Haddock, chief scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will share his research on these mysteries on Thursday, April 16 as the featured speaker at Old Dominion University's Lytton J. Musselman Natural History Lecture. The lecture was rescheduled from February because of inclement weather.

Haddock's presentation, "Glowing Aliens: Biodiversity and Bioluminescence of Deep-Sea Gelatinous Organisms," begins at 7 p.m. at the North Cafeteria of Webb University Center.

The program is free and open to the public, although seating is limited. Guests are asked to RSVP to (757) 683-3116 or odu.edu/univevents (event code: SHL15).

Haddock has studied the presence of light in the deep for more than a quarter-century and published more than 70 academic papers. At Monterey Bay, he leads scientific explorations using submarines and scuba equipment to film and collect, for further study, creatures with the capacity to glow.

"Steve is a new breed of biologist, mixing technology with natural history to explore one of the earth's most understudied habitats, the deep sea," said Daniel Barshis, assistant professor of biology at ODU. "Steve is truly an innovative researcher; he is as comfortable writing a complex computer program from scratch as he is diving in 1,000 feet of blue ocean to collect some amazingly wonderful and bizarre creatures."

The Musselman Natural History Lecture is a continuing series led by Musselman, the Mary Payne Hogan professor of botany at ODU.

The series was launched with the help of a substantial gift from ODU alumni Michael and Sue Pitchford. A former student of Musselman's, Michael Pitchford is president and chief executive officer of Community Preservation and Development Corp. in Washington, D.C.

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