By Jackson Feldwick-Jones,
Marine biologist Mike Gil gave a talk to a crowd of about 25 people at a conference room in the Mary L.Stephens Davis branch of the Yolo County Library on Feb. 16, giving a lecture about his studies.
“As a kid, I hated science,” Gil said in the beginning of his talk.
While Gil was unhappily studying journalism at University of Texas at Austin, he saw a flyer for a scientific trip to Lizard Island, Australia and decided to take the risk of dealing with his hate for science and went on the trip. Now, Gil is a career scientist with an apparent love for learning.
Gil’s research is focused on coral, with a presentation littered with interesting facts and memorable moments. One such moment was his comparison of coral with a famous 2000s socialite.
“To explain coral reefs, I like to explain Paris Hilton,” Gil said, with much laughter from the attendees.
He then went on to explain his comparison by pointing out how incredibly fickle and high maintenance coral reefs are, similar to Hilton.
However, unlike Hilton, coral reefs have to directly deal with ocean acidification, the greenhouse effect and a myriad of other very harmful symptoms of humanity which are destroying the reefs. Coral reefs are not just pretty looking either, Gil informed the crowd. They balance ecosystems, provide food, pharmaceuticals, can be critical to local economies and are critical protectors of our coast lines from vicious waves.
Gil said that the reefs are in critical danger, and there is one key thing that the normal person can do: help educate.
He encouraged the attendees to spread science and share educational things with their friends. He believed that the more people who are educated about science the better the world will be since “science is powerless without the population.”