Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
 
 
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Discovery Lecture Series

 
 
Friday, August 5, 2022
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Briny Bloodsuckers: Vampire invertebrates, and their bacterial accomplices
By Dr. Shana Goffredi, Occidental College



Symbiotic partnerships involving two or more species are widespread in nature and we can expect to find them in every type of environment, from rainforests, to urban landscapes, to the oceans. It is clear that microbes are supremely important to the success of most animals, including humans, and that many dietary strategies would not be possible were it not for intimately associated bacteria. Blood-feeding marine invertebrates are no exception in that they contend with numerous obstacles associated with feeding on the blood of fish and sharks – a difficult to breakdown, toxic, and nutritionally deficient diet. Bacteria in animal digestive systems play critical roles in the exchange of nutrients and digestion of food, and thus contribute to health and survival of the host, yet virtually nothing is known about the influence of internal bacteria on the immense success of blood-feeding marine invertebrates. Blood-feeding animals are not only important to study because of their potential symbiotic relationships with microbes, but because of their ability to act as both vectors for pathogens and the harm they cause to fish stocks. This presentation will describe a series of molecular, imaging, and experimental approaches to examine whether internal bacteria are present in blood-feeding invertebrates and whether they positively influence the success of this unusual group of marine parasites.

Dr. Shana Goffredi is a Professor of Biology at Occidental College. She considers herself an explorer at heart and is committed to uncovering the unique diversity of life on Earth. For 25 years, she has been travelling to the deep ocean, using submersibles, to study cooperative partnerships between bacteria and marine invertebrates. Dr. Goffredi has been involved in the discovery and description of some of the most iconic deep-sea animals to date, including giant deep-sea tubeworms and the yeti crab. These enigmatic symbioses have significantly contributed to biodiversity on our planet by generating new forms (ex. animal organs and tissues), new metabolisms, and even new evolutionary lineages. At Occidental College, she teaches courses on Zoology, Microbial Diversity, and Symbiosis. Dr. Goffredi’s funding has come from the National Science Foundation, and she has published in journals such as Frontiers in Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology and Science. Her B.S. is in Biology/Marine Science from the Univ. of San Diego and her Ph.D. is in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology from UC Santa Barbara.

Join us for this lecture and learn about how to examine whether internal bacteria are present in blood-feeding invertebrates and whether they positively influence the success of this unusual group of marine parasites.

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 Aug2022_DiscoveryLecture.pdf

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