Join us on September 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Cage Brewing to catch the official Relaunch of Nerd Nite St. Pete. Get your tickets on Eventbrite. Speakers include:

Cathy Salustri, “Disney Saves the Everglades (No, Really!)”
Many people don’t realize that Walt Disney World’s perched at the headwaters of the Everglades. Even more people don’t know about the massive undertaking The Walt Disney Company’s undertaken to restore and protect those precious headwaters. Come hear about the Disney Wilderness Preserve — not only is that the only thing with “Disney” in the name that’s absolutely free, its story offers hope for a world that seems like it’s on fire.

Cathy Salustri, author of ‘Backroads of Paradise’, has a master’s degree in Florida Studies. Her next book, ‘The Florida Spectacular’ (due out 2024) celebrates the best parts of the Sunshine State — including Disney. She owns a hyperlocal weekly paper, ‘The Gabber Newspaper’, and works for fan-based WDW Magazine as a copywriter and contributor.

Ricardo Williams, “Marvel at the Death of Cinema”
Comic book adaptations have become the dominant genre in the film industry. And while Marvel Studios has assembled its roster of superheroes into the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, the MCU is not without its critics. This talk will give a nuanced perspective on the Marvel vs cinema debate, a brief lesson on big budget filmmaking, and their effect on the theatrical experience.

Ricardo Williams is the host of Nerd Nite Orlando. Ricardo is also a designer, filmmaker, and musician. Currently, he writes about culture, history, and US politics. Learn more about his work at

Philip Gravinese, “A Changing Climate is Nothing to Shell-a-brate!”

The Florida stone crab is an iconic fishery that contributes $25 million per year to the state economy, however, the fishery may not be sustainable with future changes in climate. This is because stone crab larval (babies) swimming behaviors and survivorship are negatively affected by extreme stressors like reduced pH (ocean acidification) and warmer ocean temperatures. These conditions are expected to become more common and widespread along Florida’s Gulf coast which may impact the number of larvae that replenish both fished and unfished populations, making this a potentially claw-ful scenario for our prized fishery.

Phil is an Assistant Professor of Marine Science at Eckerd College. His research focuses on determining how both singular and simultaneous environmental stressors like ocean acidification, elevated temperature, hypoxia, and red tide impact the early life stages of marine invertebrates. Specifically, he focuses on understanding how these environmental stressors may affect the larval physiology and behavior of Florida’s commercially and ecologically important crustaceans including stone crabs, spiny lobsters, and the Caribbean King crab. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time at the beach with his wife and 3 year old daughter. He is actually horrible at making puns despite his title (credit to his wife and interns).