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CHARLESTON - a free public lecture, "Uses and abuses of our beloved shorelines: choices and consequences," will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston. The guest speaker will be Dr. Megan N. Dethier.

Shorelines are used by people in many ways, from building sandcastles to building marinas, from harvesting shellfish, to harvesting sand.

Shorelines, ranging from exposed rocky coasts to muddy estuarine wetlands, thus provide a variety of "services" to people. However, many uses turn out to be abuses in terms of having unintended negative consequences, leading to tough choices about future actions.

The talk will explore some of these consequences, especially from "armoring" shorelines with seawalls, and will attempt to raise awareness about the tradeoffs inherent in shoreline alterations.

The talk will be held in the OIMB Boathouse Auditorium in Charleston (park near OIMB and walk to the end of Boat Basin Drive, past the Coast Guard housing complex). Admission is free and all are invited.

About the speaker:

Dr. Dethier is a research professor in the biology department at the University of Washington but is in full-time residence at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, where she is associate director for academics and the environment. She did her undergraduate work at Carleton College in Minnesota, then PhD work at the University of Washington.

Since 1978, Dethier has been in working on the shoreline ecology of the Pacific Northwest. Her first love is rocky shores, having spent childhood summers on the coast of Maine, but she now also works in mud, gravel and salt marsh habitats. She designed a marine habitat classification system for Washington state, and has worked with the National Park Service and various Washington agencies designing shoreline mapping and monitoring programs.

Her current research efforts are mostly focused in Puget Sound, investigating the linkage between physical features of shoreline habitats and their biota, and the effects of human impacts (such as shoreline armoring) on this linkage. Dethier was the Western Society of Naturalists Naturalist of the Year in 2011, and is well-renowned for her teaching. Some of her greatest pleasure comes from teaching marine biology to undergraduate students, which she has done at the Friday Harbor Labs for over 30 years, but also at marine labs elsewhere, including Maine and Australia.