Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sex on the Reef

An Illustrated Presentation by

Alison Sweeney, University of Pennsylvania

Lecture at 6:00 PM

Please register here for this free event.

Coral Spawning. Photo credit: G.P. Schmahl/NOAA

If soft moonlight reflecting on warm ocean water sounds romantic to you, you’re not alone—this scene is also ideal for coral reproduction. Once a year, entire reefs release reproductive matter into the ocean in a matter of hours. While scientists believe this synchronized spawning is driven by lunar cycles and water temperature, many aspects of coral love lives remain a mystery. Dr. Alison Sweeney straddles the worlds of physics and biology in her quest to understand light-related biological phenomena. She will share her insights into the sex lives of coral at a special Valentine’s-themed Weeknights at the Wagner.

The Wagner's historic natural history museum will remain open until the talk begins at 6:00 PM.

Dr. Alison Sweeney is an Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. Trained in biology, her multidisciplinary work focuses on bio-optics and how organisms create and respond to optical phenomenon. She earned her BA in Biology and Russian from Illinois Wesleyan University and her PhD in Biology from Duke University. Her research has also earned her several awards, including a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, a Kaufman Foundation Award, and a National Science Foundation INSPIRE grant.









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