Conferences & Symposia

From Sea to Changing Sea: A Science Symposium about Oceans

From Sea to Changing Sea: A Science Symposium about Oceans

This symposium will focus on important new research on the changing nature of the world’s oceans and the questions that arise from that change.

The program will begin with a study of new data about the formation of oceans and the origins of early life. Speakers will then examine how oceans have transformed over climate epochs as water temperatures have fluctuated and ice sheets have formed and melted. Leading scientists and policymakers will also consider how human behavior is affecting the seas, and they will explore the impact of these shifts on marine life, islands, coastal areas, and climate change overall. The symposium will conclude by asking what role the scientific community and others can play in understanding and stewarding this critical global resource.

Free and open to the public.

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This is the Linda N. Cabot Science Symposium.


9:15 a.m.


Lizabeth Cohen, Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Framing Remarks

John Huth, Donner Professor of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Codirector of the Science Program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

9:30 a.m.

Early Life in the Oceans

Moderator: Chris Bowler RI ’17, CNRS Director of Research, Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure 

David Emerson, Senior Research Scientist and Associate Director for Bacteriology, Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Peter R. Girguis, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University 

10:30 a.m.


10:45 a.m.

The Role of Oceans in Climate

Moderator: Amala Mahadevan RI ’15, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Maureen E. Raymo, Lamont Research Professor and Director, Lamont-Doherty Core Repository, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

Rebecca Woodgate, Senior Principal Oceanographer and Associate Professor of Oceanography, University of Washington 

Lynne D. Talley, Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

12:15 p.m.

Lunch and poster session

1:15 p.m.

Impact of Sea-Level Rise on GREATER BOSTON

Moderator: John Huth, Donner Professor of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Codirector of the science program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Ellen Douglas, Associate Professor of Hydrology, University of Massachusetts Boston

2 p.m.


2:15 p.m.

Marine Life

Moderator: John W. Mandelman, Vice President, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, and Chief Scientist, Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, New England Aquarium

Andrew Pershing, Chief Scientific Officer, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Anne L. Cohen, Associate Scientist with Tenure, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Christopher W. Clark, I.P. Johnson Founding Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program; Senior Scientist, Neurobiology and Behavior; Senior Scientist, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University

3:45 p.m.

The Future of the Oceans

Moderator: Richard Lazarus, Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin, Commander, First Coast Guard District, United States Coast Guard

4:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks

John Huth

4:40 p.m.



The Radcliffe Institute science symposia are annual events that assemble leading national and international scholars and policymakers to present their research and findings on key areas of cross-disciplinary scientific research while making their work accessible to a broad audience. The symposia also feature poster sessions for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students from Harvard to highlight innovative work and to foster connections among scholars of all career stages.