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Sidore Series Focuses on the Past, Present and Future of the Ocean

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
September 22, 2010

Until recently, people have imagined the ocean as timeless, unchanging, and apart from human society. Now we know that the future of the planet is linked to the health of the living ocean, which covers 70 percent of the globe, drives our climate, and exists in an ever-changing dynamic with human history.

The 2010-2011 Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series “Sea Stories for the Future: Interdisciplinary Conversations on Historic Oceans and Contemporary Marine Science” will examine how past ocean narratives can inform future ecological decisions. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The series will feature nationally and internationally known historians and marine scientists who are working together to understand how knowledge of past oceans can address some of the most pressing problems of the oceans today. These scholars approach ocean study with the understanding that nature and science are not realms separate from the study of history.

“This pioneering, collaborative research combines historical, ecological, and mathematical methods that far exceed boundaries of traditional academic disciplines,” said Jeffrey Bolster, associate professor of history and Sidore series co-organizer.

Lecture series is as follows:

Running Silver: Shifting Baselines and the Decline of Freshwater-Sea Fishes
John Waldman, professor of biology, Queen’s College, City University of New York
Oct. 20, 2010, 4-5 p.m., Handly Auditorium, DeMeritt Hall 112

Alewives, shad, salmon, sturgeon and 18 other diadromous fish species, which migrate between marine and freshwater to spawn, once made rivers and streams “run silver” with their abundance around the North Atlantic basin, a region known for pronounced declines in fisheries for many marine species.

Too Many Catches?  Consumption, Habitat, Climate, and Competition in Medieval European Fisheries
Richard Hoffmann, professor emeritus of history, York University, Toronto
Oct. 27, 2010, 4-5 p.m., Handly Auditorium, DeMeritt Hall 112

This sea story relates the historic complexity of fisheries in medieval Europe, including local and regional overfishing, to a thousand-year evolution of fishing that culminates in exploration and expansion to the northwestern Atlantic.  

Sea Change in the Gulf of Maine, 1850 – 1900
Jeff Bolster, associate professor of history, UNH
Nov. 3, 2010, 4-5 p.m., Handly Auditorium, DeMeritt Hall 112

The second half of the 19th century saw dramatic changes in the Gulf of Maine, both in the abundance and distribution of species and in fishermen's attitudes about regulations.
It’s Not About the Fish
Jeremy Jackson, Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.
Nov. 15, 2010, 4-5 p.m., Granite State Room, MUB

Overfishing, pollution, and climate change are laying the groundwork for a mass extinction in the oceans with dire implications for human wellbeing.

Sea of Plenty? Historical Trends, Current Issues, and Future Perspectives on Our Use of Seafood
Heike Lotze, Canada Research Chair in Marine Renewable Resources, Dalhousie University,  Halifax, Canada
Nov. 30, 2010, 4-5 p.m., MUB Theater II

Since ancient times, coastal people all around the world have used seafood as a major contribution to their diet, but until recently we did not know much about the environmental history of the sea.

The Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1965 in memory of Saul O Sidore of Manchester, New Hampshire. The purpose of the series is to offer the university community and the state of New Hampshire programs that raise critical and sometimes controversial issues facing our society. For more information go to www.unh.edu/humanities-center or call 2-4356.


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