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The Secret of Cultured Pearls Revealed

The UWA Oceans Institute
Event organized by The UWA Oceans Institute

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Pearls have been used as jewels for centuries and pearl aquaculture has helped make pearls more readily available. How are these pearls produced? How do they differ from natural pearls and why are freshwater pearls so much cheaper than marine pearls? Dr Schläppy, who was employed in the pearl industry on a remote island of Irian Jaya in Indonesia, will reveal the mysteries of the steps necessary for a pearl to become an asset around your neck or part of your cufflinks. In her presentation, she will uncover how pearls are produced and what criteria is used to judge the quality of a pearl.

Dr Marie-Lise Schläppy is a research associate at The University of Western Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The focus of her research is on the biodiversity of marine sessile invertebrate assemblages on and around anthropogenic structures (offshore wind, wave and tide, oil and gas infrastructure). Currently, Marie-Lise is investigating the biodiversity of non-mobile invertebrates on oil and gas infrastructure in need of decommissioning.

In the past, Dr Schläppy has studied the life-history characteristics of small gobies, the value of detritus as a food item to territorial damselfish and sponges and their associated microbes. She has also worked in the pearl aquaculture industry in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, managed projects in quantum photonics and managed a multi-million dollar programme in cooperation and development on biotechnology and social sciences between India and Switzerland.

Marie-Lise is also interested in marine citizen science. She has worked for citizen science NGOs in the Philippines and Australia and has been on the science advisory board of Reef Check Australia for several years.