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CCU professor Dame publishes book on ecosystems

August 26, 2005

Coastal Carolina University marine science professor Richard Dame, a scholar widely recognized for his research on the importance of oysters and other mollusks to coastal estuaries, has co-edited a book compiling the studies presented at a NATO Advanced Research Workshop on the topic, "The Comparative Roles of Suspension-Feeders in the Ecosystem."

The workshop, held in Nida, Lithuania in 2003, brought together 30 scientists from around the world who presented research papers on the complex interrelationships between mollusks, plankton and nekton and their influence on the health of estuarine and other aquatic systems.

The book shows that suspension-feeders - animals that consume and recycle suspended particles in the water - play a significant role in maintaining the ecological balance in shallow water systems. The research also indicates that suspension-feeding can be impaired by human activities such as recreation, aquaculture, human and industrial pollution, fisheries and bilge water from shipping. These activities have been shown to alter the structure of ecosystems by introducing harmful substances or diseases in the food chain, which upsets natural suspension-feeding systems.

The book, co-edited by Sergej Olenin of Klaipdea University in Lithuania, was published as part of the NATO Science Series by Springer Publishing.

Dame, who joined the Coastal faculty in 1971, was named South Carolina's first Palmetto Professor in 1991. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Charleston, a master's degree in zoology and ecology from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate in biology and marine studies from the University of South Carolina. He has served as president of the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society and as program director at the National Science Foundation.