Bruce Carlson
Bio Topic - Saturday September 4 @ 2 pm

Bruce received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 from the University of Michigan. After graduating, he worked as a research assistant studying the reproductive biology of freshwater fishes in Guyana, South America.

In 1972, he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. There he conducted a biological survey of the marine life of the Fiji Islands and helped establish a permanent collection for the University.

In 1975, he moved to Hawaii where he earned his PhD at the University of Hawaii. At about the same time he started work at the Waikiki Aquarium as a student helper and eventually worked his way up to full-time Aquarist, then Curator, and in 1990 he was appointed Director. During his tenure there he pioneered exhibits of nautilus, cuttlefish, giant clams and living corals, which, prior to that time, had never before been exhibited in the United States.

In April 2002, he became the second employee hired to develop the new Georgia Aquarium. He was involved in all of the concept development for the exhibits, and he now serves as the Chief Science Officer.

Bruce has published numerous scientific articles ranging from descriptions of new species of reef fishes, to telemetry work on chambered nautilus, to culture methods for corals in aquariums. He is an avid scuba diver and has won several international awards for his underwater video productions. He is the senior author of a new book, "Bringing the Ocean to Atlanta: The Creation of the Georgia Aquarium".


This talk will focus on the catastrophic bleaching events in the Pacific in 1998 and particularly the event that occurred in Fiji in 2000. These events triggered worldwide attention and concern because so much coral died so quickly and there was no guarantee that the reefs would recover. After these events were over and the news faded, less attention was paid to recovery of the reefs over subsequent years. This talk will focus on Fiji reefs over a ten-year period monitoring permanent transects and recording changes in coral numbers, coral taxa and percent cover from 2000 to 2010. This presentation will look at the succession of coral types, the differences in the rates of recovery among the various reefs, and what these data may mean for the future of coral reefs. This talk will be accompanied by an extensive series of video and photographic images that helped document these changes over the years.