(February 24, 2020) --

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Bayside Academy bring the Ocean Discovery Lecture Series to Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Monday, March 2 at 6 p.m. Dr. Chris Lowery will discuss The Chicxulub Impact and the Resilience of Life during this free public lecture in Shelby Auditorium. 

The Chicxulub Impact occurred 65 million years ago. An asteroid slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula and wiped out 75 percent of species on Earth over a period of, at most, a couple of years. Lowery’s work examines how marine life records and responds to changes in the environment. He is particularly interested in the period of Earth’s history in which the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction occurred. 

Recent drilling in the Chicxulub Crater during an International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) expedition has shown that even at ground zero for the impact, life appeared within a few years. Within 30,000 years, evidence for a recovered healthy and highly productive ecosystem was seen in the fossil record. However, data also show that the recovery was variable across the world’s oceans with some areas taking much longer to recover than others. 

Lowery’s talk summarizes the results from the IODP drilling in the Chicxulub Crater and focuses on the recovery of life after the extinction event.  He will discuss what insights this might give us as we consider the current high rates of extinction and loss of Earth’s biodiversity.

Lowery is a Research Associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. He is a paleontologist who studies microscopic organisms known as foraminifera.  His work examines how their presence, species composition, and chemical composition records and responds to changes in the environment. 

For over 20 years, the Ocean Discovery Lecture Series (formerly the Distinguished Lecturer Series) has brought the remarkable scientific results and discoveries of the International Ocean Discovery Program and its predecessor programs to academic research institutions, museums, and aquaria. Since 1991, over 1,000 presentations to diverse audiences have been made through the Lecture Series. Learn more about the series at https://usoceandiscovery.org/lecture-series/.