Utilizing Historical Biodiversity Data to Infer Climatic Shifts in California Coastal Environments
Senior Curator and Dean of Science and Research Collections, Department of Invertebrate Zoology, California Academy of Sciences
The California coast includes some of the most diverse marine habitats in the world, but the health of our coastal habitats is at risk. Climate change, pollution, and overfishing threaten to diminish the vitality of the marine ecosystems which play an important role in San Francisco Bay Area life.
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Dr. Terrence Gosliner is Senior Curator and Dean of Science and Research Collections at the California Academy of Sciences where he has worked since 1982. His research on the systematics, phylogenetics and comparative biology nudibranchs and other sea slugs, has focused on the implications of phylogenetic studies to understanding the evolution of shell-loss, mimicry and other comparative aspects of the evolution of this group of marine organisms. He has studied the diversity of these mollusks along the California coast for more than forty years. Most recently, this work employs evolutionary studies to develop new strategies for conservation of Philippine reefs in the center of the center of marine biodiversity. He has developed key collaborations with research institutions, conservation organizations and large public exhibits to bring these findings to diverse audiences.
Rebecca F. Johnson
Dr. Rebecca F. Johnson is an invertebrate zoologist at the California Academy of Sciences.
Marine biologist Terry Gosliner presents a species of nudibranch, or sea slug, which has undergone an amazing evolutionary adaptation. Most aeolidina sea slugs eat prey with stingers, transport the stinging cells through their digestive tracts and incorporate them into their own bodies. "They take the defensive mechanism of a prey item and then can utilize that for their own defense," explains Gosliner.