The ocean is a vast and seemingly unknowable place most people will only dip their toes – even skilled divers barely scratch the surface of its depths. Marine scientist Dr Anthony Rathburn, however, knows some of the secrets of the deep and dark sea, and he is happy to share them.
Dr. Rathburn, professor of geology at California State University, Bakersfield, will speak Thursday at the “Meet the Expert” virtual lecture series at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science.
“I plan to give people an idea of what it’s like to conduct research on the high seas, including traveling to the bottom of the ocean in a three-person submersible,” Dr Rathburn said. “People can expect to better understand what deep-sea creatures and their habitats look like. Hopefully the public will also have a better appreciation of the importance of marine communities and the relevance of marine research.”
The talk will cover the work of Dr Rathburn exploring previously unmapped parts of the sea and the otherworldly creatures that thrive there. The event is free and is meant to be accessible regardless of one’s understanding of marine science. In fact, Dr Rathburn hopes it will inspire the young participants to follow their interest in the ocean towards science education.
“Students and young people can expect to experience what it is like to be a marine scientist / oceanographer and get a feel for some of the exciting and practical marine science opportunities at CSUB,” he said. . “People should check out the conference to learn more about Earth’s largest habitat (the deep sea) and find out what we can glean from the creatures that live in these dark, deep environments.”
Dr. Rathburn’s students at CSUB regularly have the opportunity to work with him and other marine scientists on research cruises along the California coast. On these trips, they collect samples from the seabed to study foraminifera, a microscopic, single-celled organism that lives on the ocean floor. They use their findings to see how the ocean has changed over time, from seasons in a single year to tens of thousands of years.
This month’s conference is the third in a row this fall, led by professors from CSUB’s School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering. Dr Rathburn said the museum engages the public with science and this series is a great opportunity for the community to connect science topics you hear about in the news with the experts who study and teach them locally.
“I think it’s important for the people at CSUB, and scientists in particular, to convey to the community the relevance and importance of what we do, the exciting applications of our research, and the rewarding career paths that training at CSUB can lead, “said Dr Rathburn.
The conference begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Those interested can register for the event at buenavistamuseum.org/events. The conference will be recorded and made available to those who cannot attend live.
Kelly Ardis is a communications specialist in the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering at CSUB.