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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Friends of Oceanography Sunday Lecture Series
Explores the Muscle Behind Blue Mussels

Narragansett, RI -- October 4, 2001 -- Friends of Oceanography at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) will present the second in a series of Sunday afternoon science lectures on October 21 at 3 p.m. The Muscle Behind Blue Mussels: Minding Their Own Byssus in Narragansett Bay, will be given by URI assistant professor Dr. Emily Carrington of the URI Department of Biological Sciences. The lecture will be held in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

The rocky shore is continually pounded by large breaking waves, making it one of the most physically demanding habitats on earth. It is therefore surprising that such a dazzling array of organisms call this place home—snails, seaweeds, and barnacles are just a few examples. Intertidal organisms vie for space on rocky shores, and one of the most successful competitors is the mussel. This is largely due to the mussels' ability to maintain a strong attachment structure, or byssus, that tethers them firmly to their substrate. For mussels in Narragansett Bay, the strength of the byssus varies two-fold during the year. This lecture will explore the causes of seasonal variation in mussel attachment, and the consequences to mussel survival. A resident of Wakefield, Carrington received her B.A. in biological sciences from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University. In her research, Carrington evaluates the interactions of organisms with their physical environment and the extent to which such interactions can affect an organism's ecological function. She focuses on organisms living in one of the most physically stressful habitats known: the wave-swept rocky intertidal zone. She studies both animals and plants and spans many levels of biological organization, including the mechanics of biological materials, the physiology of whole organisms, the persistence of populations and communities, and the characterization of the physical environment.

Subsequent lectures will be held on October 28, and November 18.

On October 28, Coastal Institute director and URI professor of natural resources science Dr. Peter August will present Bats: Fact Fiction, and Natural History.

The final lecture in the series will be given by GSO biological oceanography graduate student Heather Saffert on November 18, who will discuss To Swim or Not to Swim: How Biologists Assess Heath Risks of Swimming in the Bay.

All lectures are free and open to the public. For information, call 874-6602.
Established in 1985 to support and promote the activities of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Friends of Oceanography informs and educates the membership and the general public about the scientific, technological, and environmental research that takes place at GSO. The organization sponsors public lectures, open houses, marine-related mini-courses, science cruises on Narragansett Bay, and an annual auction. The Friends office is located in the Coastal Institute building on URI's Narragansett Bay Campus. For information about Friends of Oceanography, call 874-6602.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642,

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