George Mason University

News at Mason

Vision Series: A. Alonso Aguirre Talks Turtles and Ocean Health

September 30, 2013

Alonso & green turtle Japan

Alonso Aguirre with a green turtle in Japan. Photo courtesy of Alonso Aguirre

How to measure the health of the world’s oceans can be a perplexing issue, but A. Alonso Aguirre might have an answer: sea turtles.

Aguirre, executive director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation and an associate professor in George Mason University’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy, will present the next Vision Series lecture on Monday, October 7, at 7:30 p.m. The Hylton Performing Arts Center on George Mason’s Prince William Campus is the venue.

In his lecture, Aguirre will explain how turtles represent an important bridge between land and marine ecosystems and can be used to measure ecosystems’ health, particularly in regard to infectious diseases.

“Sea Turtles as Sentinels of Ocean Health: Linking Land and Sea” will discuss how scientists can use sea turtles to track the spread pathogens and contaminants because of the turtles’ interactions with multiple ecosystems, making them an “early warning” indicator regarding ocean health. With recent research establishing a clearer link between terrestrial and marine health, Aguirre’s lecture will discuss the future developments for measuring the ecological interplay between land and sea.

Aguirre is the senior editor of the new book, “New Directions in Conservation Medicine: Applied Cases of Ecological Health. He is also co-author of “Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice” and “Helminths of Wildlife: A Global Perspective.” He has served in editorial positions for several professional journals and is now the review editor of EcoHealth.

His work as an ecological advisor spans multiple continents. He has advised the U.S. Congress and federal agencies, and his work has been covered by a variety of domestic and international media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times, Newsweek, Al Jazeera and CBS.

Tickets for Aguirre’s lecture are not required, and an informal reception with light refreshments will follow his talk.