Coastal Lecture Series

2023 Coastal Lecture Series

The Coastal Lecture Series has returned to the Blake Library in Stuart! These free lectures will be held on Tuesday nights from January 10th through March 14th, starting promptly at 6:30 p.m. We are also offering a live simulcast of all lectures for anyone who would like to participate from the comfort of their own home.

To Attend In Person: Registration is not required to attend in-person at the Blake Library, but seating is limited. We recommend arriving at least 15-20 minutes early.

To Attend Virtually Using Zoom: Registration is required to attend remotely using Zoom. You must register for each lecture individually. Click the registration links below for each lecture you would like to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact Director of Education Dr. Zack Jud at

View PDF of 2023 Lecture Schedule

Watch Past Lectures

January 10, 2023
Seeing Red From So Much Green: The Story of Florida’s Algae Issues

Learn about Florida’s ongoing water issues, including the various harmful algae blooms that have plagued our state. See how we can reverse a century of water mismanagement that has damaged the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, and our coastal estuaries.

Presented by Dr. Zack Jud, Director of Education, Florida Oceanographic Society

Watch Now

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January 17, 2023
Climate Change and Marine Life in Antarctica

Climate change is having an impact on our entire planet, including some of the coldest places on Earth. Take a journey to the “deep deep south” to see how Antarctica’s unique and important marine organisms are being affected by earth’s changing climate.

Presented by Dr. Richard Aronson, Professor and Department Head, Florida Institute of Technology

Watch Now

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January 24, 2023
Dolphins and Climate Change: Baseline Work in The Bahamas Over Three Decades

Long-term research is critical to understanding the multitude of threats that face imperiled species. Find out how a population of Atlantic spotted dolphins in The Bahamas, which has been studied since 1985, has responded to hurricanes, food shortages, and climate change.

Presented by Dr. Denise Herzing, Research Director/Founder, Wild Dolphin Project

Watch Now

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January 31, 2023
Coral Reef Conservation: Exploration → Research → Management

Coral reefs are facing major challenges in the form of emerging diseases, poor water quality, and climate change. Dive in to learn about new coral reef discoveries, coral disease treatments, and coral restoration methods that are contributing to coral reef conservation in Florida and beyond.

Presented by Dr. Joshua Voss, Associate Research Professor, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

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February 7, 2023
Evading Extinction in the Anthropocene: Guiding the Goliath Grouper

Populations of goliath grouper, an enormous species that was once on the brink of extinction, are slowly recovering in Florida. Learn about the biology and conservation of this unique species and its importance to the fishing and diving industries in our region.

Presented by Clark Morgan, Doctoral Student, Fisheries Ecology & Conservation Lab, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Watch Now

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February 14, 2023
The History of the St. Lucie River - 125 Years of Change

The St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon Estuary have been vital to humans and wildlife in the Treasure Coast for thousands of years. Step back in time to see how a documentary filmmaker unraveled the true history of the St. Lucie River, “America’s Amazon.”

Presented by John Nelson, Producer, The Audubon Moment

Watch Now

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February 21, 2023
Florida Beach Quests

Anyone who has spent time walking along the ocean’s edge has certainly stumbled onto one sort of mystery or another. From seashells to sea turtles, discover the secrets behind every beachcomber’s unanswered questions about beach plants, animals, physical processes, and more.

Presented by Dr. Blair Witherington and Dawn Witherington, Professional Naturalists and Authors

Watch Now

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February 28, 2023
Seagrass Restoration Research in the Indian River Lagoon

Seagrasses have experienced a severe decline in the Indian River Lagoon due to poor water quality. Get caught up on the work that Florida Oceanographic Society scientists are doing to better understand this decline in order to combat seagrass losses in the IRL.

Presented by Dr. Loraé Simpson, Director of Scientific Research and Conservation, Florida Oceanographic Society

Watch Now

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March 7, 2023
Wetland Conservation in Florida: Habitats for Fishes and Fowl

As a state with 31% of its landmass covered in wetlands, Florida has a love/hate relationship with these critical ecosystems. Explore the history and importance of wetlands in the Sunshine State and measures to conserve what remains of these special places.

Presented by Jeff Beal, Florida Regional Biologist, Ducks Unlimited

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March 14, 2023
One Simple Trick to Help Save the Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon Estuary, a critical nursery for many ecologically and economically important species, is in big trouble. Learn how scientists with the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) are working to reverse the declining health of this treasured estuary.

Presented by Dr. Edie Widder, CEO/Senior Scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA)

Watch Now

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JANUARY 18, 2022
Florida's Waters – Current Outlook and Future Plans

2021 was a year filled with optimism for Florida’s waters, including a summer without Lake Okeechobee discharges, and positive movement towards meaningful restoration of water flow through the Everglades. Get caught up on the current health of our local waterways, and see how efforts to improve the management of Lake Okeechobee are progressing.

Presented by: Mark Perry, Executive Director, Florida Oceanographic Society

Watch Now

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JANUARY 25, 2022
Conservation of a Prehistoric Fish: Atlantic Tarpon in the Anthropocene

Tarpon have been swimming in Earth’s oceans for 100 million years, yet today, they are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, water quality declines, and overfishing. Learn how Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is using high-tech and low-tech solutions to track tarpon migrations and identify critical juvenile habitats, all in an effort to protect and conserve this ancient and emblematic gamefish species.

Presented by: Dr. Aaron Adams, Director of Science and Conservation, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust; Senior Scientist, FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Watch Now

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FEBRUARY 1, 2022
Restoring Native Clam Communities for Improved Water Quality and Economic Resiliency in the Indian River Lagoon

Persistent algae blooms, high nutrient loads, and poor water quality are pushing the health of the Indian River Lagoon – one of the most diverse estuaries in North America – to an ecological tipping point. See how researchers are breeding and releasing “superclams” that are resilient to algae blooms in an attempt to filter the estuary’s waters and improve ecosystem health.

Presented by: Dr. Todd Osborne, Associate Professor, Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida

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FEBRUARY 8, 2022
Mysterious Manta Rays of Florida

Did you know that Florida’s coastal waters are home to both a rare manta ray nursery habitat and a large seasonal aggregation of adult manta rays? Learn about the Florida Manta Project, the first dedicated study of Florida’s manta rays, and find out more about manta ray biology as well as efforts to protect and conserve mantas here in Florida and around the globe.

Presented by: Jessica Pate, Research Scientist & Country Manager, Marine Megafauna Foundation

Watch Now

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FEBRUARY 15, 2022
Disney’s Role in Conserving our Planet and our Own Backyard

Find out about Disney’s Animal, Science, and Environment team, which is responsible for the care and wellbeing of domestic, zoo, and aquarium animals that are part of Disney experiences worldwide. See how this unique Walt Disney team also works to protect and conserve wildlife and wild places around the globe and right here in our own Florida backyard.

Presented by: Dr. Scott Terrell, Director of Animal and Science Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide

Watch Now

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FEBRUARY 22, 2022
The Loxa-Lucie Headwaters - Continuing the History of Preserving Environmentally Valuable Lands in Martin County

Since the 1970s, Martin County residents have been leaders in preserving environmentally valuable lands. Learn about a new initiative to protect the headwaters of Kitching Creek and the north-flowing South Fork of the St. Lucie River, and how we can all be a part of addressing the challenges of land preservation and climate change resiliency in 2022 and beyond.

Presented by: Greg Braun, Certified Environmental Professional, Sustainable Ecosystems International

Watch Now

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MARCH 1, 2022
From Seeds to Shoreline: Nursery Production of Spartina alterniflora for Salt Marsh Restoration

Coastal salt marshes protect shorelines from storms and provide vital nursery habitat for commercially important fish and seafood, but these habitats are being threatened by human activities and global climate change. Learn about efforts to propagate smooth cordgrass from wild-collected seeds as part of a project that aims to restore degraded salt marshes while simultaneously cleaning up aquaculture waste.

Presented by: Dr. Heather Joesting, Associate Professor, Georgia Southern University

Watch Now

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MARCH 8, 2022
South Florida Octopuses: From Behavior to Bacteria

Octopuses, often described as the most intelligent of the invertebrate animals, are charismatic, captivating, and exhibit many unique traits and behaviors that fascinate scientists and the public alike. Discover the surprising ways that two local octopus species coexist just beneath the surface of Lake Worth Lagoon at Blue Heron Bridge.

Presented by: Dr. Chelsea Bennice, Affiliate Assistant Scientist, Florida Atlantic University

Watch Now

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MARCH 15, 2022
In the Bedroom of the Shark: Underwater Mating and Dating in the Florida Keys

Dive in to learn more about the fascinating story of nurse shark courtship and mating from a world-renowned shark biologist. This story will focus on the only systematic study of shark mating that has ever occurred for any species anywhere in the world, and will include incredible underwater photos and videos, as well as a strong conservation message.

Presented by: Dr. Jeffrey Carrier, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Albion College; Adjunct Research Scientist, Center for Shark Research, Mote Marine Laboratory

Watch Now

January 5, 2021
Florida’s Invasive Reptiles and Amphibians

Although invasive pythons make for good front-page news, Florida’s issues with invasive reptiles and amphibians are much more complex.  Find out what a state with more introduced reptile and amphibian species than anywhere else on earth – including some species that may surprise you – can teach us about global invasions.

Presented by: Dr. Zack Jud, Director of Education, Florida Oceanographic Society

Watch Now

January 12, 2021
Islands in the Sand:  Nearshore Hardbottom Reefs of East Florida

Dive in to learn about the fascinating network of nearshore reefs that lies hidden just feet off of our local shorelines.  Running the length of Florida’s east coast, from Miami to St. Augustine, these fragile reefs made of coquina and living worm rock provide a home to dozens of plant and animal species, protect our shorelines from storms, and offer a range of recreational opportunities for coastal citizens.

Presented by: Dr. Dan McCarthy, Professor, Jacksonville University and Dr. Ken Lindeman, Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

Watch Now

January 19, 2021
Florida’s Mangroves Move North in the Absence of Winter Freezes

See how Florida’s emblematic mangrove forests are shifting north in response to a warming climate.  This northward expansion may help to protect coastal communities against sea level rise and severe weather events like hurricanes, while simultaneously removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from our atmosphere – all critical factors as we face the reality of a warmer future.

Presented by: Dr. Loraé Simpson, Director of Scientific Research and Conservation, Florida Oceanographic Society

Watch Now

January 26, 2021
Exploring the Invisible: Blue Holes of The Bahamas

Discover the mysteries and breathtaking beauty of the difficult-to-access underwater caves of The Bahamas with 2011’s National Geographic Explorer of the Year.  These time capsules can help us learn about the earliest forms of life, reveal information about past climate fluctuations, and provide a window into the future of our water resources.

Presented by: Dr. Kenny Broad, Professor, University of Miami

February 2, 2021
Indian River Lagoon Research at the Smithsonian Marine Station

America’s most biodiverse estuary runs right through our backyard.  Learn about Indian River Lagoon research being conducted at the Smithsonian Marine Station, and see how human population growth in the region has impacted the estuary’s health, leading to algae blooms, fish kills, and seagrass loss.

Presented by: Dr. Valerie Paul, Head Scientist, Smithsonian Marine Station

Watch Now

February 9, 2021
Living in the Zika Latitudes: Mosquitoes, Humans, and Emerging Pathogens

Step back in time to learn about Florida’s century-long battle to control mosquitoes – efforts that have had significant ecological consequences in coastal Florida.  See how globalization, population growth, and climate change will dramatically increase the peril posed by mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus and dengue fever in the future. 

Presented by: Dr. Gordon Patterson, Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

Watch Now 

February 16, 2021
Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal & the Struggle for Florida’s Future

Dig into the long and convoluted history of an effort to cross the Florida peninsula by cutting a waterway from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, starting with the Ocklawaha River in the 19th century.  See how an environmental movement stopped the canal before it was completed, eventually allowing the cleared land to become an expansive greenway.

Presented by: Dr. Steve Noll, Master Lecturer, University of Florida

Watch Now

February 23, 2021
Making Florida's Springs Great Again

Florida’s surface water issues have had a huge impact on our state’s underground water resources.  See how the health of Florida’s magical springs is being threatened by pollution and population growth.

Presented by: Dr. Robert Knight, Executive Director, Florida Springs Institute

Watch Now

March 2, 2021
Florida’s Endangered Smalltooth Sawfish: Past, Present, and Future

Learn about the prehistoric and critically endangered smalltooth sawfish, which calls Florida’s coastal waters – including the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary – home.  Find out how scientists are using cutting-edge research and global conservation efforts to protect sawfish from extinction.

Presented by: Tonya Wiley, President, Havenworth Coastal Conservation

Watch Now

March 9, 2021
Marine Megafauna Health Assessments: Insights into Marine Ecosystem Health

See how sea turtles, dolphins, and whales are affected by harmful algae blooms, pollution, contaminants, and infectious diseases.  By studying the health of marine wildlife, researchers are able to get a finger on the pulse of the health of the ocean and coastal waterways like the Indian River Lagoon.

Presented by: Dr. Annie Page-Karjian, Assistant Research Professor & Clinical Veterinarian, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Watch Now

January 7, 2020

Sea Level Rise - Fact and Fiction

With coastal Florida already feeling the effects of sea level rise, find out how small changes in sea level might impact our state – and the rest of the planet – in the not-to-distant future.  This eye-opening crash course on sea level rise will provide a clear and easy to understand summary of the risks associated with increased flooding due to rising seas, extreme tides, and severe storms, as well as suggestions for “intelligent adaptation” to live in a flood-prone world.

Presented by: John Englander, Internationally Recognized Oceanographer, Author, and Sea Level Rise Expert


January 14, 2020

Hope for Healthier Waters in the Sunshine State: Update 2019

Get caught up on the current health of our local waterways, and see how larger efforts to restore the Everglades are progressing.  Florida’s waters have faced a few difficult years in a row, but 2019 was different.  Positive changes in the management of Lake Okeechobee resulted in cleaner waters in our coastal estuaries this summer.  Florida’s voters have asked for healthier water, and we’re finally seeing movement in the right direction. 

Presented by: Mark Perry, Executive Director, Florida Oceanographic Society


sandy thurlow
JANUARY 21, 2020

Images Documenting the History of Hutchinson Island

Our island paradise has seen many changes over the last 100+ years.  Step back in time to see what Hutchinson Island looked like before condominiums replaced oak hammocks, as viewed through the eyes of Sandy’s personal collection of incredible historical photos and gifted storytelling.

Presented by:  Sandy Thurlow, Noted Author and Historian


ellen prager
February 4, 2020

The Oceans’ Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter

Dive in to learn more about some of the oceans’ weirdest, wackiest, most wonderful – and most important – creatures.  Laugh while you learn about strange and fascinating organisms, their bizarre lifestyles, and why marine species are critical to both the ocean and human society. Based on the book Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, this talk takes an entertaining look at marine biodiversity, its relevance to the average person, and why ocean life is now at risk.

Presented by: Dr. Ellen Prager, Internationally Recognized Marine Scientist and Author


michael grace
February 11, 2020

Light in the Sea: Extremes of Vision in Marine Giants

Did you know that Tarpon see in color far better than people do, while right whales cannot see color at all and may be blind in bright light?  Some of the most charismatic marine megafauna - giants of the sea - are shedding new light on the mechanisms of vision in animals and people.  See how vision in large marine animals differs from human vision, and how insights into marine vision may help us understand visual disorders in humans. 

Presented by:  Dr. Michael Grace, Professor Emeritus, Florida Institute of Technology


erick ault
FEBRUARY 25, 2020

FWC Tequesta Field Laboratory – Local Research, Monitoring and More

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Tequesta Field Laboratory is conducting amazing fish and wildlife research right in our backyard.  Learn about the history of the lab and the work currently being conducted by FWC scientists in our region, with a focus on tracking the movements, behaviors, and population dynamics of some of our favorite marine gamefish species – research that helps to drive critical management decisions.

Presented by: Erick Ault, Research Administrator, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission


March 3, 2020

Deepwater Horizon – Ten Years Later

Discover the lasting impacts of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill on the unique and important deep sea creatures that call the Gulf of Mexico home.  This research work, which started nearly a decade ago, will give us a glimpse into the secret lives of bizarre fish and invertebrates that live thousands of feet below the surface of the Gulf – species that were at ground zero in the days and years following the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Presented by: Dr. Jon Moore, Professor, Florida Atlantic University


March 10, 2020

The boys are back in town: Seasonal aggregations of blacktip sharks in southeast Florida

Every winter, thousands of blacktip sharks migrate to coastal waters in south Florida.  While it’s not uncommon to see these sharks leaping and spinning in the air just off our beaches, the reason they choose to winter in our part of Florida is the focus of much scientific research.  See how scientists are tracking the movements of these important predators, and how climate change may affect their migratory patterns. 

Presented by:  Dr. Stephen Kajiura, Professor, Florida Atlantic University