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A 'comparative' lab trains tomorrow's leaders

Video transcript:

Hi, I'm Terrie -- (laughs). There's a seal.  Ready?  Hi, I'm Terrie Williams.  I'm a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  And I'm a comparative physiologist.  Rather than consider this just a marine lab, I consider it a comparative lab.  So the comparisons are what humans do.  We do exercise physiology and try to figure out what makes a great human athlete and then we compare it to what makes a great terrestrial animal predator, what makes a big marine mammal predator, what are the differences and what are the similarities and what are the Achilles heels?  I think that's the thing that this lab is really trying to do; identify the one thing that makes these animals the most vulnerable.

One of the animals that we have at the lab is the Hawaiian Monk Seal.  We have 50 years to solve the problem of them going extinct.  So the students that we train today are gonna be absolutely key to -- to saving that species.  These days there's so many problems that are out there; every day you're hearing about some species, some problem, some issue.  And I think that a lot of young people have sort of turned off, they go it's too big, I just can't do this, I can't deal with it.  I can't make a difference and the honest truth is you can make a heck of a difference.

And if I can provide that opportunity to get somebody kick-started and get ‘em moving in that direction, go for it.

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