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"Life at the Limits" Claremont Colleges Lecture Series Continues Sept. 28

Imagine living at an altitude of 6,000 meters where the partial pressure of oxygen is less than half of that at sea level, or, in the Great Salt Lake where the salt concentration is hundreds of times that in tributaries of the Amazon River. Some organisms not only tolerate such conditions, they actually thrive under them.

“Life at the Limits: The Physiology of Extremophiles” is a series of lectures by world-renowned experts on extreme environments and the physiology and ecology of organisms that inhabit them. The lectures are:

September 28—“Life in a Changing and Changeable Environment: The Antarctic Peninsula” will be discussed by Dr. Richard E. Lee, Jr., distinguished professor of zoology at Miami University. Many animals go to extraordinary lengths to avoid exposure to extreme cold. A few however, “simply” freeze solid. Lee’s research focuses on physiological and ecological mechanisms of freeze tolerance and avoidance in temperate and polar insects, dormancy and winter ecology of insects, frogs, and turtles, and the use of freeze-tolerant organisms for biological control. Reservations will be accepted beginning Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. and will be available until Sept. 24.

October 5—“Emperor Penguins: Residents of the 10th Planet” is the subject of Dr. Gerald Kooyman’s lecture. Kooyman is professor emeritus of biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, has focused his recent research on the effects of global climate change on emperor penguins. His 40 years of studying emperor penguins and Weddell seals in the Antarctic have dramatically changed the way physiologists and behavioral ecologists think about diving—an issue Kooyman will explore. Reservations will be accepted beginning Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. and will be available until Oct.1.

October 10—“Mono Lake: A Geological and Biological Wonder” will be explored by Dr. Timothy Bradley, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Irvine. Bradley will discuss how Mono Lake, which is 2-3 times as salty as sea water, supports an unusual and very restricted suite of organisms that can tolerate the high salt levels. One of his major areas of study is the characterization and elucidation of the mechanisms of salt and water regulation in saline-water insects. Reservations will be accepted beginning Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. and will be available until Oct. 6.

These lectures are co-sponsored by Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, Scripps and Harvey Mudd colleges and will be held at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (385 E. Eighth Street, Claremont). Each evening starts with a reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner begins at 6 p.m., and the talks start at 6:45 p.m. For reservations, contact: Dr. Marion Preest (909) 607-8014 or or Jonathan Wright at (909) 621-8603 or

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offering a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.