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In the fall of 2020, Florida Museum of Natural History, the Randell Research Center, and Thompson Earth Systems Institute (TESI) hosted three talks with scientists sharing how their work with fossil shells, shells from archaeology sites, and shells of modern-day help us understand today’s environmental challenges. These live talks were held over zoom in collaboration with the Shell Point Retirement Community and was the first in the RRC and TESI’s Facing Florida’s Future series.

In the first talk, Dr. Kowalewski, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Florida Museum, presented his work on mollusks as marine time machines. He introduced us to a new field of study called Conservation Paleobiology. The history told by the shells can aid in the conservation and restoration of coastal habitats.

Recorded live Oct. 23, 2020

Next, Dr. Carla Hadden, an environmental archaeologist specializing in zooarchaeology, archaeological chemistry, and radiocarbon dating, discussed her research in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades National Park. She showed how she used mollusk shells excavated from archaeological sites in Southwest Florida to learn about our coastal environment as well as the people who lived there. Carla’s research uses geochemical analyses from these archaeological sites to study human impacts on the environment, as well as human adaptations to climate change.

Recorded live Nov. 6, 2020

In the final talk of the Shells series, Betty Staugler discusses the current state of Florida’s shellfish fisheries and how they are just as important today as they were in the past and how due to increased growth along the coast the shellfish fisheries and the ecosystems that support them are under great pressure. She focuses on restoration and developing ecosystems through outreach and citizen science.

Recorded live Nov. 20, 2020

The Shell Point Retirement Community is a collaborator for the Shells series co-hosted by the Randell Research Center and the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute.