Joshua Drew (@Drew_Lab) is a lecturer in conservation biology and the administrator of the M.A. in Conservation Biology program at Columbia University. His work focuses on the biogeography, evolution, and conservation of coral-reef fishes in the South Pacific. In this lecture at CHF, he focuses on a pair of expeditions to Papua New Guinea, one in 1929 and one in 2011.

The event link is here: chemheritage.org/visit/events/public-events/2013-04-24-psf-life-aquatic.aspx

Topics as recorded from the event livetweet @ChemHeritage:

00:55 Discussion examines how to use collections "documents of the past" to preserve biodiversity

1:15 Coral reefs house an astounding array & diversity of life, enhancing human life in every way

2:30 60% of humans live within 100 kilometers of a shoreline

3:20 Coral reefs can sustainably provide livelihoods for humanity

4:15 "How did the diversity of coral reefs arise? How can we save it?"

5:00 Indo-Pacific region coral reef has a diversity gradient, facing numerous threats

5:40 "Bomb fishing" is a major threat to coral reefs in Indo-Pacific. Bombs sunk to kill fish also destroy coral.

8:00 Historic grouper fish photos show they used to grow as large as VW Beetles, but don't any more

9:00 Museums can help preserve biodiversity. Comparisons made from an expedition to Papua New Guinea, 1929 and one in 2011, made by scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum

12:00 Spear fishing allows selective harvesting in modern fish research; more environmentally friendly

13:00 Paintings of fish provide truer examples of their color brilliance

13:50 Drew is showing video of underwater coral reefs

14:30 Field notebooks are extremely important for research documentation

15:35 Shifting Baseline Syndrome: First time you see something, you imagine that's how it's always been

16:45 Must identify the direction & magnitude of environmental change with collections-based research: slide shows degradation of a coral reef from 1959 to 1988 and 1998

17:30 Collections based research provides a biological time capsule, allows comparison of species richness and fundamental data for ecology and biogeography studies. Building collections is of paramount importance.

18:20 @Drew_Lab describes using 1840s shark jaw-based weapons to look back into the historical record of reefs

19:20 Biodiversity Heritage Library is an authoritative resource

19:40: From collections, discovered two species of shark went extinct in these waters

20:30 Paper published in open source journal PLOS ONE, which can be found at plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0059855

20:50 @Drew_Lab says social media tools are important for understanding/saving coral reefs

21:15 Alfred Russel Wallace wrote in 1863 about the importance of collections to biodiversity research

21:30 Q&A beginning

23:15 @Drew_Lab Q: How is tech changing research?

A: Livetweeted Papua New Guinea expedition; informing researchers & opening discovery to public

27:40 Q: What has the international support of countries with these coral reefs been like?

A: Cooperation is good because countries realize more knowledge helps them manage the resource

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The Chemical Heritage Foundation fosters an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society through ongoing live events that feature thought leaders in the science community. An independent, nonprofit organization, CHF maintains major collections of instruments, fine art, photographs, papers, and books. We host conferences and lectures, support research, offer fellowships, and produce educational materials. Our museum and public programs explore subjects ranging from alchemy to nanotechnology.

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