Southwestern Oregon Community College’s popular Geology Lecture Series continues virtually with Dr. Jessica Labonté, on the topic “You Are What You Eat: How Nutrients in Coastal Sediments Affect Life” at 7 p.m., Friday, April 9, 2021 via Livestream at the college website (https://livestream.com/swocc/geology2020-21).
Dr. Labonté received her bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Laval University, and her Ph.D from the University of British Columbia. She was a post-doctoral researcher at Bigelow Laboratory before heading to Texas A&M University at Galveston, where she currently is an Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on determining the role of viruses in aquatic environments, from the surface to below the seafloor, through the characterization of their relationships with their hosts.
“You are what you Eat” will focus on microbes, which make up the majority of the biomass in sediment, where they play a role in cycling organic carbon and regulate the fluctuation of organic matter. In the past year we have heard a lot about viruses, messenger RNA and more. This talk will investigate how anoxic sediments (those lacking oxygen) play a role in the chemistry, genetics, and virus-host interactions. This is a field that has limited research. Dr. Labonté and her team will take us to the Bahamas and the anoxic sediments found in the Blackwood Sinkhole. She will present the results of their analysis of the chemistry (looking at nutrients, carbon, and nitrogen in the pores of the sediment), the biology of the microbial community (genetics and rRNA), and the virus-host interactions. Looking at these relationships they hope to gain a better understanding of the role nutrients play in shaping viral and simple single celled communities, as well as how those communities shape their environment.
Additional talks scheduled in the series this year include: a double header of IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecturers on Tuesday May 11th with Dr. Guoqinq Lin (University of Miami) with “The 2018 Kilauea Volcano Eruption: Expected or a Surprise?” at 3:00 pm and Dr. Ben Holtzman (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University) with “Seismology with your Ears: Listening to Patterns in Tectonic, Volcanic and Human-induced Earthquakes?” at approximately 4:15 pm.
All lectures in the series are free. The 2020-21 series of talks are streamed live from the college website via Livestream and archived for future viewing at: https://livestream.com/swocc/geology2020-21. Lecture Series Sponsors include: DB Western, Southwestern Foundation, The Mill Casino, IRIS/SSA, Ocean Discovery Lecture Series and the College. For additional information (or to submit questions prior to the talk) contact Ron Metzger at [email protected] or 541-888-7216.