Feb. 17: Nutritionist shares feeding habits of vital ocean predators in Halver Lecture

Lisa Hoopes works with a team to scientists in Bimini to study the ecology and nutritional health of sharks and other marine animals. She will give the annual Halver Lecture in Comparative Nutrition at WSU.

Sharing field research and insights into the feeding habits of iconic marine predators, ecologist Lisa Hoopes will give the Halver Lecture in Comparative Nutrition, hosted by Washington State University’s Department of Animal Sciences.

To be held via Zoom, 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, the annual Halver Lecture is named for WSU alumnus John E. Halver, one of the world’s leading authorities on fish nutrition.

A shark moves through an exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium. Ecologist Lisa Hoopes presents insights into the predators’ feeding habits Feb. 17, 2021.

Director of Research, Conservation and Nutrition at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Hoopes oversees nutrition for all animals in the collection, from tiny urchins to huge whale sharks. She also leads a team of scientists who conduct field studies globally to better understand the ecology of the oceans and the animal inhabitants.

Hoopes will speak about blending her enthusiasm for research with her role in keeping the aquarium’s collection of sharks and rays fed and nutritionally healthy.

Sharks and rays, collectively referred to as elasmobranchs, are culturally and economically important species that are essential to a healthy ocean, helping maintain highly productive seagrass and coral reef systems. As major predators, they balance food webs to ensure a diversity of species.

“We have so much more to learn about elasmobranch nutrition,” Hoopes said. “We know far more about nutrition in their bony cousins, thanks in large part to John Halver, than we do in sharks and rays. We have some catching up to do.

“I hope nutrition-minded people in the audience are inspired to lend their talents to the aquatic world, where we have more questions than answers about diets, feeding ecology, and nutrition,” she added.

To attend the lecture, visit the event’s Zoom website.

Learn more about Hoopes’ work here: https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/our-team/dr-lisa-hoopes/