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UNCW’s Joe Pawlik to Present Research on Caribbean Coral Reef Sponges as Spring 2017 “UNCWednesday” Series Concludes April 19

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Joe Pawlik, UNCW professor of biology and marine biology, will share his research on “Chemical Ecology of Sponges on Caribbean Coral Reefs” at 6 p.m. April 19 in the Wrightsville Beach Room, Fisher Student Center. His lecture is part of the “UNCWednesday” series, presented by the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Marine ecosystems are important to humans both for economic and ecological reasons,” said CAS Dean Aswani Volety. “Dr. Pawlik’s research highlights how valued ecosystem components such as sponges defend themselves against natural and human-induced stressors. His involvement of students in his research epitomizes the hallmark experience of students at UNCW – applied learning – and prepares the next generation of scientists.”

Sponges filter seawater and are the most abundant organisms on Caribbean reefs, Pawlik said. They also make unusual chemical compounds that protect them from predators. Pawlik will review two decades of research from his lab group on the chemical ecology of sponges that has changed our understanding of coral reef ecosystems and provided evidence to support marine protected areas on Caribbean reefs.

“UNCWednesday” presentations shine a spotlight on CAS faculty research in the arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences. With its dual focus on research and community engagement, the series supports priorities outlined in the university’s Strategic Plan.

The April 19 presentation will be the last in the Spring 2017 series. Planning is underway for the 2017-18 “UNCWednesday” series.

-- Tricia Vance

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Pawlik Reef