May Talk: The Strange Evolutionary History of Dugongs in Qatar
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 10th , 2023 at 7pm
Speakers: Dr. Nick Pyenson: Curator of fossil marine mammals, Department of
Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Venue: Doha English Speaking School, DESS location
Remote Access: Zoom
Synopsis of the talk:
What are dugongs and why do they matter for Qatar?
This talk will explore the hidden history of dugongs, a kind of herbivorous marine mammal that lives throughout the Gulf. Today, the dugongs of Qatar form the second largest population in the world of this species. They also serve critical roles in supporting seagrass ecosystems, many of which are jeopardized by human activity.
Dr. Nick Pyenson is curator of fossil marine mammals in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In the past decade, he has worked with and trained over 25 scientists on every continent, collaborating on discoveries that appear frequently in the New York Times, Washington Post, as well as on NPR, CBC, and the BBC.
Along with the highest research awards from the Smithsonian, he has also received a Presidential Early
Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the Obama White House. He is also a National Geographic Explorer, a Kavli Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences, and has worked with the World Economic Forum. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Spying on Whales, and co-