Ocean Life Series to educate on endangered fish

Barbara Brites/Staff Writer

As part of their ongoing Ocean Life Series, the School of Environment Arts and Society is inviting a speaker to educate the community about an endangered fish.

The lecture, titled “A last stand: Ecology and Conservation of the Smalltooth Sawfish in Southern Florida” is going to focus on the Smalltooth Sawfish.

The fish, according to Aileen Soto, program manager for FIU in the Keys, is one of the world’s most endangered fish and South Florida is probably one of the last places where we can find it.

“The cool thing about this sawfish is that it gets to be about 15 feet or more but very rarely people ever sees it,” Soto said. “The numbers for the Sawfish is severely declining so the more we understand about these organisms the more we can help protect and conserve them.“

It’s important to talk about organisms in our community that we don’t know enough about, especially those that are considered endangered or threatened, says Soto.

The series will feature a new FIU faculty member, assistant professor Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Ph.D. who is going to be talking about the current sawfish numbers, what he has learned about them and how long he predicts it will take for sawfish population to be at its healthy size again.

“He is going tell us what he has learned about the life cycle of these organisms and how can we help protect and conserve them,” Soto said. “His research is very cutting edge so we figure it will be very good for the Florida Keys community, as well as the FIU community to get to know him.”

Soto explained that the goal of the Ocean Series is to bring in new speakers to FIU that are doing environmental research, usually marine science related, so the community knows more about the studies taking place in the South Florida area.

The free event is open to the public and will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 2017 at Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, located in Key Largo.

“It’s a good way for students to get to know some of the new faculty members that are joining the University and it is also a good way to gain some insight into the research that the faculty are doing,” Soto said. “If students are interested in getting involved in these types of studies, this is a perfect forum for them to get to know faculty in a more casual setting, as well as network with other people that are also interested in this topic.”

The School of Environment, Arts and Society hosts events every third Friday of every month. For more information on the Ocean Life Series and upcoming events, visit seas.fiu.edu.
Photo retrieved from Flickr

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