Join Mote Marine Laboratory for a screening of the first episode of “Mythbusters: The Search,” featuring Mote staff scientist Dr. Tracy Fanara, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11 in Mote’s WAVE Center.
Fanara will compete on the Science Channel’s “Mythbusters: The Search,” a new series featuring next-generation science and building pros who will bust myths and be judged each week as they vie to become the next myth-busting superstars. “Mythbusters: The Search” starts at 9 p.m. Jan. 7 on the Science Channel.
After a screening of the first episode, Fanara will be available for a Q&A.
This event is free to the public.
Time: The episode will start at 6:30 p.m. Q&A will follow.
Location: Mote’s WAVE Center
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236
(Look for the blue awning to the left of Mote Aquarium.)
MythBusters made its television debut on Discovery Channel in 2003 and ended its 14-year run on the network in 2016. The series fused the scientific method, curiosity and ingenuity, and gained recognition for its explosive experimentation.
In “Mythbusters: The Search,” Fanara will be one of 10 contestants competing to become a future MythBuster. Contestants will apply their science, engineering and building skills to busting myths and solving tough puzzles like finding a needle in a haystack.
"Applying a scientific approach to hypotheses is my passion: it is what I do at Mote Marine Laboratory and it is what MythBusters is all about,” Fanara said. “I believe that change and growth are inspired by education, and having the opportunity to spark scientific interest, paired with the ability to reach such a broad demographic, has the potential to be powerful. My goal is to encourage, educate and entertain through demonstration of scientific principles, with an underlying purpose of showing women, young and old, that there is no stereotype to smart, that science is cool, and that anyone can be a scientist or engineer with some passion and hard work."
Fanara, an environmental engineer, manages the Environmental Health Program at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. She and her team investigate the effects of marine and freshwater chemicals on public health. She oversees Mote’s Beach Conditions Reporting System, which provides twice-daily condition updates for 31 beaches along Florida’s Gulf coast via www.visitbeaches.org and a free app available in the App Store.
Fanara’s job calls for creative myth-busting, particularly in educating the public about the Gulf of Mexico’s red tide algae (Karenia brevis), which produces toxins that can kill marine life and sicken humans. Blooms of this naturally occurring species of algae can cause fish kills and deter beach tourism, as algal toxins enter the air and cause respiratory irritation among beachgoers. However, these complex blooms change continually, and one beach might be affected while a nearby beach is clear. Fanara and colleagues help the public separate myth from fact regarding red tide impacts and other environmental issues, working to support safe beach days and healthy living in the Sunshine State.
Fanara has extensive experience in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling through her doctorate from the University of Florida, along with nearly 10 years of engineering consulting experience. She is well trained in water quality analyses, as she studied the fate of phosphorus in urban environments by “storm chasing” for her master’s degree research. Her biology experience includes a study of diatoms (microscopic algae) as water quality indicators, seagrass displacement and nutrient pollution in waterways. She mentored and served as design engineer for two integrated, nationally winning, EPA Rainworks Challenge teams.