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Sanctuary Currents 1996
Building Community Connections in Science, Education and Conservation

General Info & Program | Session Abstracts | Ricketts Lecture | MBNMS Awards | Exhibitors
Poster Abstracts & Awards

Ed Ricketts Memorial Lecture


Steve Webster

Director of Education
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Ed Ricketts, Where Are You When We Need You?

On this Tenth Anniversary of the Ed Ricketts Memorial Lecture, it is appropriate that we take a moment to revisit the Cannery Row of the thirties and forties and remind ourselves who Ed Ricketts was and the legacy he has left with generations of marine scientists in the intervening half-century. The distinctions are considerable between the 'Doc' character in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, and the Ed Ricketts who operated the Pacific Biological Laboratories, authored Between Pacific Tides and, with Steinbeck, co-authored The Sea of Cortez. We will retrace the voyage of the Western Flyer to the Sea of Cortez in 1940, and draw from that expedition the rich combination of science, philosophy and comraderie that it was. We will also consider the things to be learned by drawing parallels between of the Sea of Cortez and Monterey Bay, then and now.

As we plan for the future of our young Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and select the priority issues and challenges to be addressed in the evolution of the sanctuary's management, what would Ed Ricketts be saying and doing were he alive today? How would he view the current state of the Bay's living resources; the lively marine research and education enterprise; the advent of the ATOC projects and the return of the gray whales, elephant seals and sea otter? What would be Ed's view of the current state of the living resources of the sanctuary, and of the Sea of Cortez? What would Ed have to say about 'Building Community Connections in Science, Education and Conservation'? And what would he advise as the best, most effective ways to get there? And, finally, why DO we need Ed Ricketts now, more than ever?

About Steve Webster

The 1996 recipient of the Ricketts Memorial Lecture Award is Dr. Steven K. Webster. Dr. Webster has been the Director of Education for the Monterey Bay Aquarium since 1981, having been one of its four conceptual parents and the coordinator of the project from 1976. Dr. Webster studied biology at Stanford, receiving his A.B. degree in 1961, then taught at Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Massachusetts, for five years. In 1965 he returned to Stanford and Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, where he received a Masters degree in education and his Doctorate in Biological Sciences on the respiratory physiology of the purple sea urchin. From 1971 to 1977, he taught invertebrate zoology at San Jose State University and led several summer marine biology courses for divers in the Caribbean on Grand Cayman and St. Croix.

Over the years, Dr. Webster has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society, the Cannery Row Foundation, the Lyceum of the Monterey Peninsula, the State Underwater Parks Advisory Board, and the Friends of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. He is Vice Chair of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, Chairman of one of AMBAG's Technical Advisory Committees and was the organizer of the MBNMS Education Panel.

Dr. Webster has been a diving instructor and underwater photographer for 30 years. He is a popular speaker on natural history topics ranging from Monterey Bay to the Caribbean, the Sea of Cortez and the Galapagos Islands. His field guide to Caribbean Reef Invertebrates (Sea Challengers) is in its second printing.

History of Ricketts Memorial Award and Past Recipients