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FGCU Hosts Public Seminar Wednesday to Discuss Viral Mediation of Algal Blooms
3/14/2006

FORT MYERS, FL - The Florida Gulf Coast University Biotechnology Seminar Series invites members of the public and media to "Dangerous Liaisons: Viral Mediation of Harmful Algal Blooms," 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 15 in Whitaker Hall 129 to discuss the role of viral infection in influencing the population dynamics of phytoplankton.

The seminar introduces the emerging field of marine virology and provides a general overview of what is known about algal viruses.

Scientists say viral infections become especially important during bloom conditions when phytoplankton cells are highly concentrated, since the rate of infection is dependent on the density of host cells. Despite the importance of algal-virus interactions, they are not well understood.

Janice Lawrence, associate professor at the University of New Brunswick is the guest speaker. During the seminar, Lawrence examines the role of viruses in controlling the population dynamics of phytoplankton with particular emphasis on harmful algal bloom-forming species.

Lawrence received both a Ph.D. in biological oceanography and a BSc, or Bachelor of Science, in marine biology from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She later completed postdoctoral research in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Lawrence completed her dissertation research on "Population dynamics and toxicity of the epiphytic dinoflagellate Prorocentrum lima in a shallow coastal embayment: Implications for shellfish aquaculture."

For more information, media representatives should contact Randy Alberte at (239) 590-7269 or ralberte@fgcu.edu.

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