New York Biology Teachers Association
Special Information    


Saturday, September 24, 2016   
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Gateway National Recreation Area
Belt Pkwy Eastbound between Knapp St. and Flatbush Ave

NYC H2O beach cleanup.  There will be an optional ecology lesson with NYBTA member Mickey Cohen after the cleanup. Use a seinning net to catch critters that live in Jamaica Bay and put them in jars with water to study them before returning them to the water.

Gloves, garbage bags and pickers will be provided

DIRECTIONS:  Plumb Beach is located along the eastbound Belt Parkway between Knapp Street (
Exit 9) and Flatbush Avenue (Exit 11).  There is a pedestrian path from Knapp Street and Flatbush Avenue.

FOR REGISTRATION visit Eventbrite

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Stony Brook University
The Living World lecture series

Oysters: Can We Save Them?
Can They Save Us?

Jeffrey Levinton
Distinguished Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolution,
Stony Brook University

Friday, September 16, 2016
7:30 P.M.

Stony Brook University
Earth and Space Sciences Building 001
Free parking in lots west of building

Oysters live throughout the world, usually living in clusters on intertidal areas and in oyster reefs or mounds below the waterline. They secrete calcium carbonate shells which enclose a soft body whose gills pump water and capture enormous amounts of algae. Their abundance as oyster mounds probably absorbs wave shock and helps to protect shores. Their algal clearance rate contributes to water clarity, as planktonic algae are removed. The clarity allows light to reach seagrasses and prevents the algae from dying, decaying and resulting in a lack of dissolved oxygen. But oyster reefs are in trouble around the world owing to over exploitation by fishing and because of pollution.

Dr. Levinton will discuss the great loss of oysters and how we can restore reefs and might be able to substitute some of their ecosystem functioning by aquaculture approaches that can complement reef restoration. He will also question how much oysters really benefit coastal ecosystems. Can they really clear out the water of modern coastal environments, which are enveloped in nutrients? Are oyster reefs, even if restored, capable of clearing our bays and harbors?  Most important, are they really effective at absorbing wave shock or do they merely complement marsh systems which should be the real targets of restoration?  Evidence new and old suggests that oysters are beneficial but they have limits that must be understood.

Jeffrey Levinton is a marine ecologistwith broad experience on the ecology and feeding biology of marine bivalves. He has worked on oyster performance in this region and developed metrics of oyster clearance on local algae. Dr. Levinton is author of several books, including the textbook “Marine Biology: Function, Ecology, Biodiversity” now being developed into a 5th edition.  He is webmaster of the Marine Biology Web Page, with career advice translated into many languages, now about at one million visits.  Dr. Levinton is a Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University and is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Senior Scholar, was Chair of the
Hudson River Foundation’s Hudson River Fund, and is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Stony Brook University
Geology Open Night lecture series

The effects of acid rain on
Long Island’s ecosystems

Gilbert N. Hanson
Distinguished Service Professor
Department of Geosciences,
Stony Brook University

Friday, September 23, 2016
7:30 P.M.

Stony Brook University
Earth and Space Sciences Building 001
Free parking in lots west of building

Westerly winds bring emissions from vehicular traffic and power plants to Long island. These emissions include nitrogen and sulfur oxides, which create acid rain. Unpolluted rain has a pH of 5.6. In the 1950’s acid rain was already present when precipitation on Long Island had a pH of about 4.8; pH continued to decrease and was about 4.3 by the mid 1980’s; as a result of clean air legislation the pH of precipitation has increased to about 4.6.

When acid rain infiltrates the soil, hydrogen ions replace the base cations (Ca, Mg, K and Na) on exchangeable sites on soil particles. At the same time, they react with insoluble Al(OH)3 in the soil producing soluble aluminum ions. Exchangeable base cations in the soil are plant nutrients. Soluble aluminum in the soil is a poison to plants. Thus, the effect of the acid rain is to remove plant nutrients and to make poison available to the plants. The results are that plants less sensitive to acid soil conditions are replacing plants that are more sensitive to acid soil conditions. Before acid rain, the soil in Long Island’s forests was acidic with a pH of about 4.5 (using 0.01 m CaCl2). Presently, the forest soil has a pH of about 3 at the surface increasing to about 4.5 at a depth of about 50 cm. In this presentation, Dr. Hanson will discuss the effects of acid rain on soil and the natural ecosystems on Long Island. 

Dr. Hanson,  a distinguished service professor in the Department of Geosciences, has been interested in the geology and environmental problems of Long Island for the last couple of decades. High school students, earth science education students, earth science teachers and MS in Geosciences students carried out this research.


The New York Microscopical Society

Sally Warring's
Pondlife: popularizing protists
on social media platforms

Thursday, September 29, 2016
 6:00 P.M.

at the
Shevchenko Scientific Society

63 4th Avenue
between E 9th and E 10th Streets
Manhattan, NY

Meet, hear and discuss with Sally Warring, the bright and engaging protistologist and New York University biology graduate student, who's been attracting admiring attention for her work documenting protists as conveyed via her 'Pondlife' Instagram page, Twitter feed, and website.  Warring merited major media features on  New Zealand Television (she's a Kiwi), and in America's Atlantic magazine, Village Voice, and the New York Times. In the New York Microscopical Society's 2016-17 season's inaugural event Sally Warring opens on her background and her professional research, then continues on her philosophy and objectives as reflected in her social media project, 'Pondlife.'  Warring will demonstrate  portable microscope systems interfaced to her iPhone, and do 'live pondlifeing' streamed to hercomputer and the very hospitable Shevchenko Society's digital audiovisual system.

Join this wonderful opportunity to meet, learn and talk with an intrepid bioluminary!

For more information email John Scott


Stony Brook University
The Living World lecture series

Mixing Fun and Science:
Evolution of Alaskan Threespine Stickleback Fish

Michael A. Bell
Department of Ecology and Evolution,
Stony Brook University and Research Associate
University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley

Friday, October 14, 2016
7:30 P.M.

Stony Brook University
Earth and Space Sciences Building 001
Free parking in lots west of building

The Threespine Stickleback fish has fascinated and perplexed biologists since the dawn of biological science.  Dozens of stickleback species
were named before it was realized that similar traits had evolved repeatedly
in far-flung populations of this single species.  The most distinctive populations are young and occur in regions that were covered by Ice Age
glaciers only a few thousand years ago. In the late 1960s, research in
British Columbia produced key insights into stickleback evolution and inspired Dr. Bell's research.  Dr Bell will review his field research, the environmental setting, and rapid evolution of Threespine Stickleback populations in lakes around Cook Inlet, Alaska.His annual sampling program
since 1990 has shown that many adaptations that have evolved since the last Ice Age could actually have evolved just decades after stickleback colonized fresh water.  He will show the beauty of Alaska and combine this with a demonstration of the speed and power of evolution by natural selection.

Mike Bellwas born in Brooklyn, grew up in Los Angeles, and came to Stony Brook University in 1978. He has been said to view evolutionary biology through stickleback-tinted glasses,but it worked for him.  His research
combines paleontology, geographical variation, anatomy, development, genetics, and genomics. His “stickleback-tinted glasses” have yielded novel insights into evolutionary processes. This researchand his co-edited
book, The Evolutionary Biology of the Threespine Stickleback, facilitated
development of this speciesinto thebiologicalsupermodel” it is today. He was also the first biologist to study the evolution of sticklebackpopulations from the Cook Inlet, Alaska and has attracteda dozen labs to dostickleback
research there. Twice he co-organized the International Conference on Stickleback Behavior and Evolution andco-edited the Conference proceedings. Dr. Bellis a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Research Associate at the University of California Museum of Paleontology at the University of California,Berkeley

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For information on many more local activities for science educators,

visit NYAS Science Educators - Events Calendar

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