29th Annual Plymouth Marine Science Medal Lecture
Professor Lloyd Peck
  • Lecture Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University

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The Plymouth Marine Science and Education Foundation (PlyMSEF) is delighted to announce that this year's Plymouth Marine Science Medal Lecture, hosted by the Marine Institute, will be given by invited guest speaker Professor Lloyd Peck from the British Antarctic Survey. His lecture is entitled: "How well adapted are Antarctic marine species to extreme polar conditions?”

The Southern Ocean is characterised by possibly the lowest and most stable temperatures in the world’s oceans. It also has among the greatest seasonality. Thus despite the small variation in temperature, summers are short and nearshore environments have some of the most intense phytoplankton blooms anywhere. Iceberg scour also makes shallow marine habitats possibly the most physically disturbed anywhere. Conditions have existed like this, at least in parts of Antarctica, for millions of years, allowing fine scale adaptation to these conditions. 

Examples of these adaptations include the evolution of antifreeze in fishes, the lack of any blood pigments to carry oxygen around the body in Channichthyd fish. It is also the only fauna anywhere where significant numbers of species lack the elsewhere ubiquitous heat shock response of increase in heat shock protein production on warming. Some other physiologies appear less well adapted to polar conditions, and the question is why?

This free lecture is open to all and starts at 6pm (arrivals from 5.30pm).

Contact events@plymouth.ac.uk for any queries.

About the speaker (extract from the British Antarctic Survey website)

Professor Lloyd Peck is a scientist at the forefront of investigation into animal adaptations in extreme environments. He leads a dedicated, innovative team of polar biologists evaluating how species live in the coldest, driest, windiest, most isolated place on Earth. Lloyd has had many field visits to Antarctica in his 20 years studying life in polar regions and over ten years' experience of media presentations and interviews.

Lloyd currently holds the following positions: Science Leader British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council Individual Merit Scientist, Visiting Professor in Ecology, Sunderland University, and Honorary Lecturer in Zoology, Cambridge University.

His current interests are the evolution and adaptation to extreme environments, especially cold polar systems. Main interests are in the ecological and physiological adaptations of marine organisms to low temperatures, intense seasonality and ocean acidification. He also has interest in how these adaptations affect organisms abilities to resist or respond to environmental change, especially how the slowed physiologies of growth, development and metabolism in polar species impact on life histories and hence responses to change. A third area of interest is in how unique adaptations to extreme environments can be exploited for the benefit of wider society through low temperature products of industrial or biotechnological value.

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