Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Virtual Science Café: Plant Conservation, The Origin of Earth’s Atmosphere, and National Parks of the Oceans

Archived Webinar

This Zoom webinar featuring Clare Fieseler, Gary Krupnick, and Jonathan Tucker aired April 8, 2021, as part of the "Virtual Science Café" series. Watch a recording in the player above.


In this video, three Smithsonian scientists bring you into their world of wonder in short, "lightning-style" talks.

"Are We Measuring What Matters in Our Ocean’s National Parks?" by Clare Fieseler
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are national parks in the ocean. MPAs can provide coral reefs some relief against climate change, but we need to be strategically measuring reefs within MPAs to know for sure. Collecting data from top journals and dusty filing cabinets, ecologist Clare Fieseler has amassed the first library of monitoring data for all 428 MPAs in the insular Caribbean. Her goal: determining where data illuminate coral reef change for MPA managers and where we are, essentially, still "in the dark."
"Scientific Collections and Species Conservation," by Gary Krupnick
Scientific collections are irreplaceable sources of information about biodiversity and the history of life on Earth, yet these collections are more than a documentation of the past — they are a hope for the future. For centuries, botanists collected specimens in the field to understand plant diversity; now that many habitats are threatened, these specimens are finding a new use in conservation research. Using botanical case studies, conservation biologist Gary Krupnick will illustrate the ways scientific collections contribute to research in identifying and helping endangered species.
"Does Earth Breathe?" by Jonathan Tucker
The formation of Earth’s ocean and atmosphere four-and-a-half billion years ago set the stage for the emergence and evolution of life. Vital molecules like water and carbon dioxide have continuously cycled between Earth’s surface and interior, yet clement, habitable conditions have endured at the surface. By measuring gases trapped inside volcanic rocks, geochemist Jonathan Tucker seeks to understand the mechanisms and expressions of these exchanges in order to unravel the origin and evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere.

Moderators: Naimah Muhammad and Amanda Sciandra, public programs coordinators at the National Museum of Natural History.

Related Resources

Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Earth Science, Life Science