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Life in a Changing and Changeable Environment: The Antarctic Peninsula

Many animals go to extraordinary lengths to avoid exposure to extreme cold. A few, however, “simply” freeze solid! Professor Richard Lee’s research focuses on physiological and ecological mechanisms of freeze tolerance and avoidance in temperate and polar insects, dormancy and winter ecology of insects, frogs, and turtles, and the use of freeze-tolerant organisms for biological control. He has devoted many years of study to freeze-tolerance in the goldenrod fly Eurosta solidaginis, the larvae of which overwinter in plant galls exposed to the full range of ambient temperature extremes. In 2005 he returned to Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula after 25 years to resume his studies of another remarkable freeze-tolerant insect with limited mobility, a wingless fly. His presentation will focus on Antarctic research, the local flora and fauna, evidence of global warming, and adaptations of insects to environmental stress.
Lee is the author of more than 185 papers, reviews, and book chapters related to cryobiology and cold-hardiness in insects, frogs, and turtles. At Miami University he received the Outstanding Researcher Award in 1991 and the Distinguished Educator Award in 1993. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Ohio Academy of Science.

Professor Lee’s lecture is second in the series Life at the Limits: The Physiology of Extremophiles, sponsored by the Joint Science Department of The Claremont Colleges, the biology departments of Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College, and the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.