Friend or Foe? The Two Faces of Microbes

The Two Faces of Microbes” describes what a microbe is, and then covers some interesting facts and perspectives about microbes. On one hand, they are essential to life, on the other, the can cause devastating and sometimes fatal diseases. McLellan talks about some epidemics that have shaped history, and how today, we are using microbiology to assess pollution sources in the Great Lakes.

Matters of the Heart: Cells and Cardiovascular Disease

Biologist Julie Oliver explains the inner workings of our heart and circulatory system in “Matters of the Heart: Cell and Cardiovascular Disease.” With audience participation, Oliver will unravel how blood cells called platelets function at the site of an injury to form a plug. There’s good and bad news about our body’s ability to stop bleeding. While this rapid response is critical to wound healing, its regulation can be disrupted, causing a cascade of events that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. As she leads a tour into our veins, discover the what’s inside that activates the platelets – and what inhibits them. She also investigates how drugs like aspirin inhibit platelet’s clotting function. A demonstration reveals why platelets in mammals (that’s us!) respond particularly well to a daily, low-dose aspirin treatment for cardiovascular disease.

Science, Society and Sustainability: Can We Make the Pieces Fit?

Knowing how parts of nature interact in time and space is critical to our understanding of sustainability. Ecologist Tim Ehlinger looks at our interaction with the land from our first arrival on the continent: trapping, logging, farming, industrialization, urbanization, and suburbia. Through demonstrations he traces human behavior and how it has, and continues, to modify our environment. He builds a “beaver dam” and has “rain” fall on a farmyard and an urban development to show the enormous difference in rainwater retention. Meeting our needs without jeopardizing those of future generations is the theme throughout this look at sustainability.

Mussel Beach: The Crushing Weight of Invasive Species

Carmen Aguilar and Russell Cuhel — Quagga mussels seem like invaders from another planet. Are they going to crush the historic wrecked ships on the bottom of Lake Michigan with all their bodies and shells? How did they wipe out the zebra mussels in such a short time? Are they stronger? Learn about the most ravaging invader Lake Michigan has ever seen!

Alien Invaders: Exotic Species in the Food Web of the Great Lakes

Biologist Arthur Brooks in this lecture highlights the interplay of human activity and its impact on the Great Lakes ecosystem over a 200-year period. Utilizing diagrams and high-speed photography, Professor Brooks also discusses the food web of the Great Lakes and gives numerous examples of how exotic species alter the balance within an ecosystem.

Digestion: A Tough, Dirty Job, It Takes a Lot of Guts

Zoologist Donna Van Wynseberghe conducts a journey through the unseen workings of a system we utilize day after day and from the first moments of “Digestion: A Tough Dirty Job, It Takes a Lot of Guts,” she makes the familiar both fascinating and informative. A viewer will come away with a clearer idea of the digestive process and of nutrition, material that Van Wynsberghe dispenses with wit and lightness.