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Episode 303: Prescription: Oceans

The oceans are part of America’s newest medical frontier. In Florida, scientists are studying a variety of marine invertebrates which may hold the key to unlocking the secrets of our own biology.

At Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, researchers are testing sea sponges for their potential anti-cancer properties. At The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in Marineland, experts are taking a closer look at horseshoe crabs to better understand how eyes function and change with age. Scientists there are also studying sea slugs for insights into neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. What clues will these and other simple organisms reveal about the human body? Are there cures that lie beneath the waves?


Meet the experts featured in this episode.

Special Thanks:


Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
32 Avenida Menendez
St. Augustine, FL 32084
(904) 829-2277

Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort
860 A1A Beach Blvd
St. Augustine Beach, FL 32080
(904) 471-2555


The Pelican Inn
99340 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037
(305) 451-3576


The Sandhurst Hotel & Suites
Beach Resort
1230 Seaway Drive
Hutchinson Island, FL 34949
(866) 395-7263

Image Credits

Changing Seas would like to thank the following individuals and institutions who kindly allowed their footage, images and other media to be used in this production:

Don Blis
Bill Branson
Dr. Gorden Cragg
Dr. Cecil Fox
Dr. Dwight Kaufman
Nancy Lankford
Dr. Lance Liotta Laboratory
George McGregor
The National Cancer Institute

Greg Breese
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thomas Capo
National Resource for Aplysia

Brian Cousin
Dr. Esther Guzmán
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at FAU

Jessica King
Marine Photobank

Tom Kleindinst
Marine Biological Laboratory

Sarah Koenig

Rodolfo Llinas
New York University

Larissa Graham

John Griffin
Medical Tribune/Columbia University

Dr. Leonid Moroz
The Whitney Laboratory for Marine
Bioscience at UF

Dr. Joseph R. Pawlik
UNCW Center for Marine Science

Dr. Arthur Toga
Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, USC

Sven Zea
The Sponge Guide

Associates of Cape Cod, Inc.

Charles River

Bette Jensen
James Gathany
Dr. Steve Kraus

Delaware Public Archives 

National Eye Institute

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services 

NBR Worldwide 


The Rockefeller University

Web Extras

Horseshoe Crabs                                                                                     

Funding for this episode of Changing Seas was provided by: