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President's Message

It took a hurricane named Irma to cancel TBFC’s first meeting of the season in September. As the storm approached I began to wonder if I would have to be the first to ever cancel a TBFC monthly meeting. The University of South Florida made that decision for me when they closed the campus to all activities as Irma approached. It seems everyone in the immediate area fared well, albeit, a rough week with no electricity. Please remember, TBFC does have members from all over Florida, and many to the south. So, keep those folks in your thoughts and prayers as some are still without power, or a home to return to.

I would like to send my apologies to our September guest speaker Bob Fuqua. Bob resides in the Venice, FL area, so I know he’s understanding of the need to cancel the meeting. Lots of you have already asked if we will reschedule his presentation and the answer is, “yes”. Our speaker coordinator Barbara Fite has already been working on that.

October 7th Meeting
Dr. Ryan Carney
University of South Florida

From Archaeopteryx  to Zika, Dr. Ryan Carney’s research interests primarily involve dinosaurs and diseases. His work is fundamentally interdisciplinary and digital, fostered through a dual appointment at the Center for Virtualization & Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST). Teaching activities include integrating research into educational tools and science outreach, and utilizing next-generation 3D platforms (virtual reality, interactive holograms).

Dr. Ryan’s paleontology research focuses on bringing dinosaurs “back to life” by scientifically reconstructing skeletons, motion, and original coloration. His approaches combine exceptionally-preserved fossils and state-of-the-art technologies, from high-resolution X-ray imaging to animation software. Generally, Dr. Ryan is interested in the structural and functional changes that occurred during major transitions. In particular, his research involves the evolution of flying dinosaurs, with an emphasis on the iconic “missing link,” Archaeopteryx. Other lines of investigation include joint functional morphology and evolutionary biomechanics, pursued through an integration of  in vivo experiments, in silico modeling, and novel comparative approaches among living and extinct animals. Dr. Ryan’s research also includes the emerging field of paleocolor: elucidating the original colors of fossilized feathers and skin, using new imaging and molecular techniques. Such results reveal not only what ancient creatures once looked like, they also provide insights into their evolutionary history and behavior.

Dr. Ryan’s epidemiology research focuses on the surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases, particularly the flaviviruses Zika, dengue, and West Nile. Given that there are no cures or vaccines available, prevention and mosquito abatement are the only solutions for containing outbreaks. With that goal, his work involves leveraging technologies like GIS and the DYCAST early warning system as powerful tools for fighting disease – from predicting epidemics to the strategic targeting of control efforts.

National Fossil Day
Florida Aquarium
October 14th

TBFC has again partnered with the National Parks Service and the Florida Aquarium to bring National Fossil Day to the Tampa Bay area. The Florida Aquarium has been gracious enough to host TBFC and Fossil Day since this special occasion began back in 2010. And it seems like each year the Aquarium’s events for Fossil Day get bigger and bigger.

In 2010 we started with a simple display table of TBFC’s fossils and replicas. Over the years the event has grown to include many displays throughout the Aquarium where we display fossils related to some of the living creatures on exhibit. Lucky for us the Guest Service Facilitator is actually a paleontologist by degree and has worked with many of the scientists we’ve met at TBFC meetings over the years.

If you haven’t visited the Florida Aquarium yet, this is the perfect time to come check it out and celebrate Fossil Day with TBFC.

I know all of you are excited to get back into the rivers to see what Hurricane Irma has stirred up. At the time of this writing, nearly every river in Florida remains flooded. Do not return to the rivers until it is safe to do so. There is nothing laying on the bottom of any of these waterways worth giving your life for. My thoughts and prayers go out to those of you who were harmed by Irma.

Hopefully by the time of the October 7th meeting, everyone will be cleaned up and dried out enough to make a trip to our first TBFC meeting of the season.

Good Hunting

Michael Searle