Shell Museum Online Lecture Series: Studying Clams in Arizona
Why Am I Growing Giant Clams in the Middle of the Arizona Desert?
Giant clams are special among bivalve mollusks in using symbiotic algae within their bodies to speed up their growth, like corals do, yet little is understood of how they will fare in the face of climate change and ocean acidification. To look into the future and explore these questions further, researcher Dan Killam is growing smooth giant clams in a 700,000-gallon coral reef tank of the Biosphere 2 in Arizona to understand how they manage to grow their shells so quickly. In the Biosphere 2 “ocean”, juvenile giant clams have more than doubled in size in just one year and will eventually reach two feet long.
The controlled conditions of the Biosphere 2 ocean reef tank provide a perfect setting to explore and experiment. As with corals, the partnership between giant clams and their internal algae only works within a narrow range of temperatures and pH levels. As the oceans grow warmer and more acidic, this relationship will be put under stress, reducing their growth. In this talk, Dan will share insights from his groundbreaking research on the impacts of changing oceans on mollusks, featuring images and video of the singular Biosphere 2 facility.
About the speaker: Dan Killam, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at Biosphere 2, University of Arizona. He is a paleontologist specializing in comparing the geochemistry of fossil and modern mollusk shells. After completing his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at USC and a Ph.D. in Earth Science at UC Santa Cruz, Dan spent over a year studying bittersweet clams at the University of Haifa in Israel before beginning his current project culturing giant clams at Biosphere 2. Dan is passionate about conservation, natural history and science communication. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the Tucson desert looking for creatures to post to iNaturalist, and at home hangs out with his cat, hermit crab and carnivorous plants.
Shell Museum Online Lecture Series: S...
Date and Time
Thursday Sep 16, 2021 5:00 PM - 5:45 PM EDT
This ZOOM Webinar begins at 5pm EST on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Most lectures run between 30 and 50 minutes.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Webinar via ZOOM - follow the link in the description!