This morning on Exploration, Dr. Michio Kaku talks to Callum Roberts about the unnatural history of the world’s oceans. Then, he welcomes Oliver Sacks to the show to discuss how the human brain appreciates music.
His work examines the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs. In St. Lucia and Saba in the Caribbean, he has studied the effects of marine reserves closed to all fishing. His studies revealed both the scale of human impacts on the sea, and the means of protecting marine ecosystems from such effects. He is now working to gain a wider acceptance for marine reserves, including in Britain and Europe where he is advising fishermen on how to promote the concept within the industry and to politicians.
Callum has served on a US National Research Council Committee on Marine Protected Areas and has also been a member of the Marine Reserves Working Group, headed up by Jane Lubchenco, Steve Gaines and Steve Palumbi at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara. With this group he sought to develop a more robust theoretical underpinning for the design and implementation of marine reserves.
In parallel with work on reserves, Callum has also been active with the Coral Reef Fish Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). With colleagues, he has developed global maps of the biodiversity distribution of reef fishes and other faunal groups. These maps have revealed that marine species are more at risk of global extinction than previously believed. Many have small geographic ranges and life history characteristics that render them vulnerable to extinction. However, the maps also show ways to prioritise conservation investment into areas where those resources could be most effective.
He was awarded a Pew fellowship in marine conservation in 2000 to tackle obstacles to implementing marine reserves, and in 2001 he was awarded a Hardy fellowship in conservation biology at Harvard University. Roberts is also an active supporter of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.
Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE (born 9 July 1933), is a British-American neurologist, writer, and amateur chemist who is Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Between 2007 and 2012, he was professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, where he also held the position of “Columbia Artist”. Before that, he spent many years on the clinical faculty of Yeshiva University‘s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He also holds the position of visiting professor at the United Kingdom’s University of Warwick.
Sacks is the author of numerous best-selling books, including several collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders. His 1973 book Awakenings was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film of the same name in 1990 starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He and his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain were the subject of “Musical Minds“, an episode of the PBS series Nova.