Bermuda Topic Of Upcoming Flagler College Program

S.R. Smith

S.R. Smith


Dr. Struan R. (Robbie) Smith, Curator for the Natural History Museum at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ), will give a talk on the island’s vulnerability to sea level rise and ocean acidification, as part of Flagler College’s Ideas & Images series, on Nov. 18.

Smith’s talk, titled “Climate Change:  A Mid-Ocean Perspective from Bermuda,” will address the current state of mangrove retreat, threats to coral reefs and challenges to built infrastructure in Bermuda.

“The issue is that of the loss and compromise of ecosystem services and natural resources forced on small island nations by climate change,” Smith said. “There is great uncertainty on the scope, scale and pace of change of these impacts on Bermuda. We do not know if we can adapt and pay for the costs associated with these challenges. Bermuda is not alone in this predicament.”

Smith received his doctorate in Ecology from the University of Georgia and his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.  Over the past 25 years he has worked at Duke and Georgia State Universities in the United States and in Bermuda, since 2009 in his current position. His research interests include coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves. He has served as project director or co-director for 16 research projects and has published more than 40 scholarly articles and six book chapters. His research has been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pew Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the government of Bermuda.


Accompanying Dr. Smith on his visit to St. Augustine is Dr. Ian Walker, BAMZ Principal Curator and a specialist in coral reef studies. Flagler College’s Coastal Environmental Science program has an academic partnership with BAMZ.

This year’s Ideas & Images lecture series, titled “Heritage at Risk: Climate Change, Coastal Communities & Cultural Resources,” is free and open to the public. Lectures take place in the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada Street, at 7 p.m.

Partners for this series are the National Park Service and its Climate Friendly Parks initiative, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the Florida Public Archaeology Network. The series is made possible with assistance from a variety of sponsors including: the Joy McCann Foundation, St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, Florida Humanities Council, St. Johns Cultural Council, St. Johns County Visitors and Convention Bureau, Casa Monica Hotel, Margaret Domini, Flagler College Bookstore and the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront Hotel.

If you are a person with a disability and need reasonable accommodations, please contact Lynn Francisco at 904-819-6460. Sign Language Interpreters are available upon request with a minimum of three days’ notice.

Additional Ideas & Images presentations for the academic year include:

  • Jan. 26, 2016 – “Our Coastal Heritage: Communities Tackling Rising Seas,” Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist, Climate & Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Feb. 10, 2016 – “Planning for Resilience to Sea Level Rise in the Matanzas Basin,” Dr. Kathryn Frank, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida
  • March 15, 2016 – “The Importance of the Past in Responding to Climate Change,” Dr. Marcy Rockman, climate change adaptation coordinator for Cultural Resources, National Park Service
  • March 30, 2016 – Climate Change and Cultural Resources Panel: “Weather it Together:  Protecting our Historic Seaport,” presented by Lisa Craig, planner, chief of Historic Preservation, City of Annapolis, “Planning for Cultural Resource Climate Change Impacts;” Adrienne Burke, J.D., community development director, City of Fernandina Beach, Florida, “Sea Level Rise and Local Government Responses: Lessons from the Florida Keys;” Dr. Jason Evans, assistant professor of Environmental Science, Stetson University.


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