Porter Hall’s Lunch Time Talks: Week One

Stephen Jiron                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Paw Print

For those who aren’t familiar, the first lunch time talk of the year took place this last Wednesday in POR 130. Basically anyone is invited, and pizza is provided. You show up, you listen to some interesting people, while you digest their topic and some pizza. The program is spearheaded by our very own Dr. Matt Nehring. Wednesday’s talk was a presentation by the Porter Scholars and their trip to Australia. Each student covered a different portion of their trip, both business and pleasure wise. Dr. Nehring gave a short introduction to the students, where he outlined the lunchtime talks and also promoted the Porter Scholar Program, which seems to be a wonderful program for science and math majors that are eligible to apply for more information. An application follows in the link at the bottom of the article.

The first Porter Scholar to speak was Drake Sisneros; his contribution to the presentation was largely sociological. He showed a lot of the pictures from the actual trip and, after easing everyone in, hit the ground running discussing the people of Australia. He closed out with some population breakdown, showing that the aboriginal population had an uneven spread leaning towards the young, which he connected to his final graphic illustrating his point that the Aboriginals are largely disadvantaged due to poverty health concerns and disease.

Jason Roth was the next, and he delved into the geological formulation of Australia and discussed its impact on a lot of the island/continent’s flora. To look forward first he took us back to when all of Earth’s landmass was grouped into the supercontinent Pangaea, focusing on the southernmost Gondwana portion. Giving a nice little factoid that 45% of the species currently residing on the island were remnants of Gondwana. He also explored the creation of the separate temperate zones and their impact on the formulation of the four types of forests they encountered. With the people and geology covered, Darin Sisneros came to talk about the specialists of Australia, the Marsupials and Monotremes. He lightly touched on Monotremes for what they are most famous for, egg laying… that and having Knuckles the Echidna on their team. Curiously enough he had a bandicoot in his presentation without even a passing mention of Crash. Due to isolation, a lot of the animals found in Australia are found nowhere else in the world, which is interesting. Despite Australia having rare species, Darin presented some graphics that showed Australia has a poor record of keeping these animals from extinction and endangerment. Though it could be argued that the preservation of species is more than just the responsibility of the land down under.

Tavia Carlson was the final presenter of the Porter Scholars. She spoke on the Biodiversity, citing Australia’s excess of 600,000 species and the island’s rich evolutionary legacy. She also provided a nice graphic showing the effect of geographic isolation, impressing that 17 nations carry 70% of the world’s biodiversity. What might they have found with a trip to Madagascar?  She also touched on their ride up the Daintree River and its famous inhabitant Crocodiles before discussing the groups snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and some of its most famous inhabitants Sharks.

I strongly urge anyone with a free noon to one schedule and an appetite for pizza and knowledge to attend these short lectures. Afterwards most speakers are readily accessible for Q&A and it’s a great way to spend your lunch while picking up some good info. If you find yourself interested, the next lunchtime talk is Thursday October 9th in Porter 130, where Dr. John Tooker of the University of Pennsylvania will be speaking on healthcare. Please check the Faculty Lectures, Lunchtime Talks & Planetarium Calendar or contact Dr. Nehring for more information both of which also listed below.

Porter Scholarship Program Info:


Lunchtime Talk Schedule:


Matt Nehring Contact Info:

Office-Porter Hall Room 108

Phone-(719) 587-7504

Email- matt.nehring@adams.edu

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