Wed 27 Oct 2010: 4.30pm – Lanna Cheng on “Marine insects – diversity and habitat conservation”

Department of Biological Sciences (BEJC) Seminar Announcement
“Marine insects – diversity and habitat conservation”

Dr. Lanna Cheng
Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
University of California,
San Diego, USA

Wed 27 October 2010: 4.30pm
Seminar Room 1 (S2 04-10 – map)

Hosted by Prof Peter Ng

About the talk – Insects, with an estimated 10 to 30 million species, are the commonest organisms on land. Although they were assumed to be absent in the sea they can actually be found in a wide variety of marine habitats, including the open ocean. Some 1,500 species of marine insects belonging to more than 10 Orders have now been listed in the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) database.

I will introduce some of the commonest or most unusual species and briefly discuss their biology, distribution and habitat requirements. Their most important habitats are the intertidal and mangrove which are heavily impacted by coastal development and global warming. At least 2 coastal sea skaters have been officially listed as endangered species in Japan. More are either threatened or likely to face extinction.

Although we are not aware of any economic importance for any marine insects, some are of potential use as indicators of climate change or environmental pollution. Conservation of mangroves will serve many important functions besides preserving the most important habitat for many marine insects.

About the speaker – Dr. Lanna Cheng obtained her D. Phil in insect ecology from Oxford University after graduating from the University of Singapore. She became interested in marine insects when she joined the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California, San Diego and edited the book “Marine Insects” which remained the only scientific reference on the subject. She is a Full Research biologist at SIO and is actively engaged in several research projects on Halobates, the only known insect living in the open ocean.

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