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Darwin Day 2017

The Oceans' Cryptic
But Beautiful Life

Thomas Kiørboe
marine biologist

Thursday 9 February at 16:00. VilVite, Auditorium, Thormøhlensgate 51
The lectures are intended for a wide audience, will be held in English, and are part of the Horizons, the seminar series of the Faculty of Science dedicated to the big questions. Refreshments will be served from 16:00; the talk begins 16:15.

Marine life unfolds beneath the surface of the ocean, and the life forms - plankton - that dominate the biological processes in the ocean are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye.

Yet, when visualized, this life demonstrates a large and beautiful variety of morphologies and a fascinating diversity of behaviours. While we believe that these behaviours and morphologies have been tailored by natural selection to the main challenges any organism is confronted with, i.e., to eat, survive, and reproduce, this connection is not always obvious. This is partly due to the fact that, at the scale of microscopic organisms, water appears as thick and sticky as syrup, inertia can be ignored, and flow is reversible, and hence their physical world is non-intuitive. In this lecture, I will visualize the oceans invisible life, explore how their morphologies and behaviours are adapted to optimize their fitness, and demonstrate how trade-offs between resource acquisition and survival generate a diversity of plankton communities. The lecture will draw on formal fluid physics but otherwise be light on physics and rich in movies such that everyone should be able to follow and enjoy.

Thomas Kiørboe is recognized world-wide for his original thinking that has led to pioneering contributions in many areas of marine ecology. He chairs the Centre for Ocean Life, a Centre of Excellence at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. Kiørboe has contributed nearly 200 research articles, mainly about small organisms in the ocean, how they are adapted to life in water, and their immense importance to ocean ecosystems and climate. Using high-resolution video cameras he visualizes the spectacular but cryptic organisms present in a drop of sea water.

Why is the Darwin Day celebrated?
Who is behind the Darwin Day in Bergen?
The Darwin Day 2017 in Oslo
Earlier events
2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010,
2009, 2008, 2007.

Institutt for biologi