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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

Friends of Oceanography Free Public Lecture Series
Examines the Impact of Global Warming on Narragansett Bay

Narragansett, RI -- September 5, 2002 -- Winter flounder in Narragansett Bay is currently down some 96 percent from its all-time high. The species that once made up 50 percent of the inshore fisher’s income is now a mere vestige of its former glory. And the likely culprit is warming ocean and bay waters.

Perry Jeffries, URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) professor emeritus of biological oceanography, will present a free public lecture that looks at what happens when Global Warming Hits the Fishes of the Narragansett Bay Area. The lecture will take place in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett on Tuesday, September 17 at noon.

Jeffries’s visual lecture will describe how Narragansett Bay has changed as a result of warming water temperatures. While the amount of fish has not declined, the distribution of species has changed considerably. For instance, "during the flounder’s collapse," said Jeffries, "scup, a warm-water species, ventured into the bay to take its place. But butterfish, another warm-water migrant, also moved in."

"The winter flounder population entered the new millennium at less than 10 percent of its former numbers," added Jeffries. "Against a background of warmer winters, this flounder’s future is not promising."

Jeffries, a long-time resident of West Kingston, received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Rhode Island and his Ph.D. at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He became an Assistant Professor of Oceanography at URI in 1959, two years before the establishment of GSO. Jeffries recalls that his first office was in a jail cell at the Washington County Jail, temporary home of the URI Narragansett Marine Lab following the fire that destroyed its home at Fort Kearny, site of the Bay

Campus in Narragansett. Jeffries’s research interest include the ecology of coastal waters and the behavior of marine communities adjusting to environmental change.

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 874-6642.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642, lcugini@gso.uri.edu

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