doc riser
Nathan “Doc” Riser was named the founding Director in 1967 of what was then the Marine Science Institute (MSI). He was director of what is now known as the Marine Science Center until 1979, and he officially retired from the faculty in 1985. He continued working in his laboratory nearly every day, and maintained an active research program until his death in 2006.

During his tenure as Director, Doc Riser brought widespread recognition to the MSI as a center for marine organismal biology. The Institute attracted hundreds of prominent international marine biologists whose presence enriched the lives of the resident graduate students and produced a vibrant and scholarly atmosphere.  Read more about Doc and his legacy here.

2017 Riser Lecture

Friday, April 28 at 4 pm


Dr. Linda Deegan
Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Research Center

Screenshot 2017-01-31 15.57.36Coastal ecosystems are cherished because they are beautiful, provide food and protect cities from coastal storms. In the past threats were direct – dredging and filling – and easier to fix. Today these ecosystems are suffering from diffuse threats, with impacts that are harder to see and more challenging to remedy. Eutrophication has resulted in salt marshes being one of the most nutrient enriched ecosystems in the world. Dr. Deegan will discuss the previously unsuspected changes to saltmarshes caused by too many nutrients, and consider options for restoration that take into account the legacy of coastal eutrophication.

Previous Riser Lectures


Dr. Os Schmidt
Yale University
Conserving animals is our best bet for climate geoengineering


Dr. Susan Williams
Bodega Marine Laboratory – UC Davis
Along the spice route: The quest to protect Indonesia’s marine biodiversity


Dr. Mark Hay
Georgia Institute of Technology
Ecosystem tipping points, chemical ecology, and the continuing death spiral of coral reefs


Dr. Paul Dayton
University of California at San Diego
Bottoms beneath the ice: Reflections on 100 years of benthic ecology at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica


Dr. Nancy Knowlton
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
The evolutionary diversity, ecological complexity, and future fate of coral reefs


Dr. Emmett J. Duffy
The College of William and Mary
Biological diversity as the central organizing concept in marine conservation and management: challenges and opportunities


Dr. Robert T. Paine
University of Washington
Food webs and conservation: misleading cartoons of reality or useful guides to a complex and interactive nature?


Dr. Bruce A. Menge
Oregon State University
Towards a global model of understanding of dynamics of coastal ecosystems


Dr. Mark D. Bertness
Brown University
Does marine ecology matter to conservation biology?


Dr. Geerat J. Vermeij
University of California at Davis
Opportunity, geography, and innovation: lessons from shells


Dr. Steve Hawkins
Marine Biological Association of the UK
Big patterns and small patches: climate change and biological interactions on European rocky shores


Dr. John Grahame
University of Leeds
Snails on the seashore: shells, geography, genes, and speciation


Dr. Don Levitan
Florida State University
Love and jealousy in sea urchins; density dependent sexual selection and the evolution of sexual dimorphism


Dr. Les Watling
University of Maine
Random observations on the biology of deep water corals: is there a pattern?


Dr. James Blake
ENSR Marine and Coastal Center
The origin and evolution of Antarctic and deep-sea macroinfauna


Dr. Steve Palumbi
Harvard University
Using molecular genetics in marine Conservation


Dr. Bruce B. Collette
National Marine Fisheries Service
Fishes of Bermuda: biodiversity and history


Dr. Winsor Watson
University of New Hampshire
Lobster migrations


Dr. Kenneth Sebens
University of Maryland
Rocky subtidal communities in Massachusetts: two decades of change


Dr. Roger Hanlon
Marine Biological Laboratory
Sex and aggression: fascinating evolutionary games that cephalopods play


Dr. Wilfried Westheide
University of Osnabruck
Sperm phagocytosis and the evolution of hermaphroditism in small annelids


Dr. Nora Terwilliger
Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
Hemocyanin and hemoglobin expression: the effect of time and tides



Dr. Sarah Ann Woodin
University of Southern Carolina
Disturbance, scale and behavior in sedimentary systems


Dr. Kevin Eckelbarger
University of Maine
The biology of the invertebrate egg formation, cytomorphological diversity and life history implications


Dr. Mimi Koehl
University of California at Berkeley
The physical world as encountered by the organism: things are not always what they seem



Dr. Seth Tyler
University of Maine
Functional morphology: its role in understanding convergent evolution


Dr. Charlotte Mangum
The College of William and Mary
Centipede hemocyanin, or how physiologist and biochemists can and cannot contribute to our understanding of animal phylogeny


Dr. Volker Storch
University of Heidelberg
Cell and environment: a link between morphology and ecology


Dr. Kristian Fauchald
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Eclecticism and the study of polychaetes


Dr. Olav Giere
University of Hamburg
Meiofauna and microbes – the interactive relations of annelid hosts with their symbiotic bacteria