SciComm Studio 014: Conserving Corals

Join us for an interdisciplinary conversation on the future of coral reefs.

courtesy Marie Griesmar

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


November 15, 2018 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



As scientists continue publishing breakthrough academic research about the future of our coral reefs, how can artists support the outreach and awareness of the dangers facing these endangered environments?

Join us for a talk by Stanford Professor of Earth Sciences Rob Dunbar, whose research on coral reefs and marine conservation has taken him around the world. He will present on the current state of academic research on these vital environments.

Then, we’ll host a conversation between Raphael Ritson-Williams from the Hope for Reefs initiative at California Academy of Sciences, and Pier 17 Science Studio fellow Marie Griesmar, whose exhibition Beneath the Sea will act as a backdrop for our evening.


6:30pm — doors
7:00pm — presentation by Rob Dunbar
7:30pm — Marie Griesmar in conversation with Raphael Ritson-Williams
8:00pm — networking
9:00pm — doors close


Rob Dunbar

Rob Dunbar is the W.M. Keck Professor of Earth Sciences at Stanford University, where is also a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research and teaching portfolio includes Climate Dynamics, Oceanography, Marine Ecology, and Biogeochemistry. Much of his new research focus is on designing and implementing novel solutions for challenging environmental problems. Focal areas for 2018/2019 include Antarctica, multiple island systems of the western Pacific and Indian Ocean, and Southern Argentina/Chile. About 80% of Rob’s teaching is away from the Stanford Campus, including courses in Alaska, Patagonia, Palau, Monterey Bay, and the far SW Pacific. At Stanford, Rob was the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) and the long-term director of the Stanford Earth System Program, the largest undergraduate and co-terminal master’s program in the School of Earth, Energy, and the Environment. He has worked for the World’s Small Island and Developing States through a program sponsored by Earth Justice and the UN Foundation. He is active in DC in the science policy arena and has served as a trustee as well as Board Chair for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. Dunbar currently sits on the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate for the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Completely separate from Stanford, Rob leads Art/Science intersection workshops at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska and provides pro-bono support for STEM educators in several western Pacific Nations. When not on the road, Rob lives in Palo Alto with his wife Robyn and two crazy Goldens, Rico and Ani.

Raphael Ritson-Williams

Coral reefs host a huge amount of marine biodiversity and California Academy of Sciences Post-doctoral fellow, Raphael Ritson-Williams studies multiple aspects of this diversity.  He uses a variety of tools from molecular genetics to 3D images to better understand the current status of diversity on coral reefs, the trajectory of their change and potential processes that might enable coral persistence in the face of climate change. He studies coral physiology to understand resistance to bleaching and works on coral larval ecology to determine how damaged reefs recover. As coral ecosystems are increasingly threatened by global climate change and local human development he is very interested in building the foundational science to understand how corals resist and recover from disturbance, with the aim of understanding how natural processes can be leveraged to increase the health and diversity of coral reefs.

Marie Griesmar

Marie Griesmar is a Swiss artist based between Lausanne and Zurich. Her practice is at the intersection between utopian aims and reality. Through installations, paintings, but also publications, Griesmar evokes the dialectic between visible and invisible as well as the phenomenology of perception. Her work on generative coral reefs led her to pursue a project with the Swissnex Pier 17 Science Studio in San Francisco, where she’ll be working during summer 2018. Deploying a range of references that combines contemporary philosophy, marine biology, or even some post-structuralist writings, she develops a polysemic work imbued with a formal, ecological and narrative research. Griesmar obtained her MFA at the University of Art of Zurich (ZHdK) in 2016. She did her BFA in 2014 at the University of Art and Design of Geneva (HEAD) and studied for a six-month period at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (AdbK).

swissnex Salon

The swissnex Salon is a new model for dialogue on how the future of our society is shaped: a platform that includes multiple perspectives and provides a critical lens on possible emergent futures. Taking inspiration from the values articulated within the Preamble of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, we examine the role of technology in shaping, distorting, and expanding societal foundations.

SciComm Studio

The SciComm Studio is swissnex San Francisco’s meetup for lovers of science seeking a community to experiment, explore, and connect around science communication and public engagement. Hosted at swissnex San Francisco at Pier 17, these meetups create a space for our community to cultivate science communication skills. We inspire and challenge participants excited by science to share their knowledge through storytelling and interactivity. It’s a win-win: exchange knowledge while developing your own toolkit for scientific outreach.

The Pier 17 Science Studio has support from the Exploratorium, Bay Area Science Festival, TED speakers, museum professionals and art-technology curators. The Science Studio “SciComm Studio” events take science communication out of the box and into the streets. If you find yourself involved in any area of scicomm, or if you are interested in being a part of the movement, join us for our next event!