Research ecologist Lizzie Duncan will discuss the latest findings about deep-sea coral and sponge communities off the California coast during a Santa Barbara Maritime Museum webinar.
The virtual presentation is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 19 and is free thanks to the support of Marie L. Morrisroe.
To watch the program, register at sbmm.org/santa-barbara-events. Donations are welcome.
Ms. Duncan, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, will lead webinar participants through the deep, dark world of deep-sea coral and sponges through the lens of a West Coast research initiative, according to a news release.
The webinar’s highlights will include what deep-sea corals and sponges are and why they’re important, the threats they face and what tools scientists are using to study them. The presentation will also include never-before-shared images and findings from recent expeditions at places such as the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Ms. Duncan has been part of the sanctuary’s research team since 2017. The next year, she became a co-coordinator of the West Coast Deep-Sea Coral Initiative, a nationally supported and multiyear research program.
Now, as a full-time research ecologist for the sanctuary, she continues to coordinate deep-sea research, and she develops and manages related education and outreach projects.
Ms. Duncan enjoys her fieldwork in waters around the Channel Islands, be it in depths easily accessible with scuba gear or those requiring remotely operated vehicles.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a handful of expeditions that use cutting-edge technologies — like remotely operated vehicles — to put eyes on parts of the seafloor that have never before been studied,” she said in the news release. “Every mission is really exciting because you never know what you’ll find!”
Ms. Duncan earned her bachelor’s in marine biology and master in biology at Cal State Long Beach. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which supported her graduate research at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. She also received an East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes award to broaden her research experience at James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia.