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Exploration on the Origin of Life --- Exciting Discoveries at Deep-sea Hydrothermal Vents

2010-12-17 12:16:22

Richard A. Lutz, PhD

Director, Center for Deep-Sea Ecology and Biotechnology

Associate Director, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences

Professor, Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903

Time: 2:30pm     July 05, 2010, Monday

Location: Shenzhen Hall at Wuzhou Hotel

Prof. Lutz's highly illustrated lecture will provide an overview of exciting discoveries at deep-sea hydrothermal vents throughout the world since the first biological expedition, as well as spectacular biological and geological changes that occurred since the April 1991 eruption along the East Pacific Rise. The results of his ongoing studies at the volcanic eruption site have been featured in many scientific journals and magazines, including Science, Nature, a cover story in American Scientist, and three separate issues of National Geographic. Observations made during the course of Dr. Lutz's ongoing studies in this unique "natural deep-sea laboratory" are dramatically altering our views of the rates at which many biological and geological processes are occurring on the face of the planet. Dr. Lutz was Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation project that funded the IMAX film entitled Volcanoes of the Deep Sea and served as the film’s Science Director. This IMAX film, which was co-produced by Rutgers University, received the award for the “best IMAX film of the year” at the Paris Film Festival. Dr. Lutz recently received the Scientific Literacy Achievement Award from the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research for his contributions to this film.

Prof. Richard A. Lutz

Dr. Richard A. Lutz is one of the foremost authorities in the world on the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Since the first biological expedition to these unique ecosystems in 1979, in which Dr. Lutz participated, he has spent countless hours on the bottom exploring thermal vents throughout the world's oceans in a variety of deep-diving submersibles. He received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1971, his Ph.D. from the University of Maine in 1975 and subsequently spent several years as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. In 1979, he joined the faculty of Rutgers University, where he currently is a Professor in the Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences. He has been Chief Scientist on numerous oceanographic cruises, has over 160 publications, and was awarded the Rutgers' Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research. In April 1991, Dr. Lutz joined a number of his geological colleagues on an oceanographic expedition, during which they used the deep-submergence vehicle Alvin to dive, for the first time, into the caldera of an actively erupting volcanic ridge along the East Pacific Rise at a depth of 2500 meters. Dr. Lutz has returned to the site at approximately annual intervals to document events that have occurred since the eruption.

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