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Leading marine ecologist to speak at MC

Barry McNamara
Marine ecologist Kevin Lafferty will present the annual McMullen Lecture in Biology on Feb. 14.
The annual Donald B. McMullen Memorial Lecture in Biology will kick off a trio of public talks the week of Feb. 13 at Monmouth College. Also scheduled are a Great Decisions discussion and a Monmouth Associates luncheon.

Kevin Lafferty, marine ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, will present the McMullen Lecture on Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. Entitled “Parasites that Affect Personalities,” the lecture is free and open to the public. Lafferty will also speak about “Parasites and Food Webs” at 4 p.m. in Room 423 in the Haldeman-Thiessen Science Center.

An adjunct faculty member at the University of California-Santa Barbara, where he received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, Lafferty will discuss parasites that can manipulate the behavior of their hosts in order to complete their life cycle. Parasites, he argues, can make male crabs act like females, crickets jump into streams or fish swim to the surface and roll over on their sides. They can also have subtle effects upon the human population, and their varying prevalence among regions might actually help explain differences in human culture.

The McMullen Lectureship in Biology was endowed in 1973 by Mrs. Donald McMullen of Silver Springs, Md., in memory of her husband, who was a biology professor at Monmouth College from 1928 to 1938. The fund was established to assist the college in bringing to campus
outstanding scholars in the biological sciences.

MC professor Marjorie Bond will introduce the next Great Decisions topic, “Cybersecurity,” on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tartan Room of Stockdale Center. Following her opening remarks, there will be approximately one hour of group discussion.

The securitization of cyberspace has caused a sea change for both governments and the private sector, with new threats, new battlegrounds and new opportunities. The evening’s discussion will center on how the U.S. and its allies will approach the cyber frontier and how this new domain figures in U.S. strategic interests.

Students who participated in the college’s innovative Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activities (SOFIA) will present the monthly Monmouth Associates program on Feb. 16 at noon in the Whiteman-McMillan Highlander Room of Stockdale Center.

The most recent SOFIA program included projects from a variety of academic disciplines, allowing students the opportunity for hands-on research experience for the three weeks prior to the start of the fall semester. In several cases, students have been able to continue that research during the academic year.

The program is free; a buffet lunch costs $10. Reservations can be made by calling 309-457-2316 by Feb. 13 or by e-mail at

A free shuttle van transports passengers from two locations to every Associates luncheon. The van will stop at the Faith United Presbyterian Church parking lot at 11:45 a.m. and at the northeast quadrant of the Public Square at approximately 11:50 a.m. It will return to both locations immediately following the program. Shuttle reservations should be made by calling the above number.