Healthy coral reefs have intact coral stands and abundant fish life. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

Paul Sikkel, research professor in marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science will speak on “Exposing the Hidden Majority: Ecology of Host-Parasite Interactions in Coral Reef Ecosystems,” on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. His lecture is the third presentation of the 33rd annual Delicate Balance of Nature lecture series, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. 

Sikkel’s talk will cover parasitism, the most common lifestyle in the marine environment. He will focus on some ways that certain parasites affect their hosts and the dynamics of host-parasite interaction in coral reef ecosystems. Additionally, he will discuss ways that parasites can influence invasive species.

The presentation will be at the Visitor Center and Aquarium building at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The park is located at MM 102.5, oceanside; there is no cost to enter the park for the lecture series. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the lecture begins at 7:30. Seating is limited, so it is recommended that visitors arrive on time to be assured of a seat in the auditorium, which is wheelchair accessible. Bring your own cushion for added seating comfort. Temperatures in the auditorium vary and a sweater or light jacket may be desired. Please help accommodate those who are chemically sensitive by not wearing fragrances and other scented products.  For more information or accessibility needs, contact Elena Muratori, park services specialist, at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, (305) 676-3786.  For more information on Florida’s state parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org.