Did you know that the Antarctica is cold, dark, windy and full of snow and ice, and yet it's classified as a desert? Having spent lots of time there on research trips, Coastal Carolina University marine science professor Steve Berkowitz has a passion for penguins, albatrosses and other critters of the frozen tundra.
"Icebergs, Whales, Penguins and More: An Introduction to Antarctica" is his topic on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the Collins Law Enforcment Center's small courtroom located at Oak Steet and Mr. Joe White Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. The lecture is at 7 p.m., and it's free and open to the public.
Berkowitz will show slides and videos from his seven research cruises to Antarctica .He has seen and photographed some amazing things – like the humpback whale that came to check out a ship he was on and stayed close by for three hours, and the penguins that torpedoed their bodies onto the scientists' ship for a visit.
"When penguins are adults, they have no natual enemies, and they'll walk right up to a person out of curiosity," said the scientist. "I have videos of them interacting with our Danish crew, who'd never seen penguins before. They're just a neverending source of delight."
Berkowitz's talk will last from 45 minutes to an hour.
Berkowitz joined the Coastal faculty in 1991 as assistant director of the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies. He is a senior instructor whose research interests include ecology, taxonomy, and sampling methodology of marine zooplankton. Berkowitz has been involved in several dozen oceanographic research cruises in most of the world's oceans.
The talk is one of 50 that the university's College of Natural and Applied Sciences is offering, called "Science for Coastal's Community," in honor of Coastal's 50th anniversary. The discussions have been taking place simultaneously throughout Horry and Georgetown counties since September and will continue into 2005.
For more information, call 349-2229.