|Dr. Norse (left) and Jeff Renner (right)
Today marks the end of my first week as executive assistant in the Seattle office of the Marine Conservation Institute. I have really been enjoying my first few days in Seattle. I have begun exploring different neighborhoods and seeing beautiful landscape—including several mountains, which was a treat for me as a Chicago native. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity during my first week to attend the Seattle Aquarium’s lecture series, “Sound Conversations”, where MCI’s chief scientist Elliott Norse was a featured speaker. The event was hosted by local weather man Jeff Renner, who was extremely engaging and offered the audience to take part and ask many questions.
Dr. Norse began by detailing main highlights of his career, including coining the term “biodiversity” and serving as a staff ecologist for the White House. He showed off images several deep sea species rarely ever seen by humans—an indicator of how much depth (quite literally) there is to the open oceans that we are just beginning to discover. Dr. Norse pointed out the importance of designating strong marine protected areas around the world, and explained his goal of increasing the percentage of marine protected areas to at least 20% in the near future.
Dr. Norse’s emotional connection with certain species and habitats in the ocean were very clear and easily related to by the audience. The Q&A section was quite interesting to hear different people’s perspectives on topics like deep sea coral health, bottom trawling, and ocean acidification. It is always rewarding to know that Dr. Norse’s area of study and passions are so appreciated and shared by many. It was a great evening filled with conservation-minded people and engaging conversation.