Environment, Conservation and Culture is Theme of Lecture Series at University of Virginia

March 17, 2006 — “Environment, Conservation and Culture” is the theme of an upcoming lecture series at the University of Virginia sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. The series highlights U.Va. research and education programs that investigate the interrelatedness of the natural environment and human behavior.

Such programs almost inevitably are interdisciplinary and collaborative, involving researchers and practitioners in biodiversity and conservation, anthropology, business and sustainable development, and the arts.

Over the past three years U.Va. has developed strong higher education partnerships in southern Africa and South America and research partnerships with leading international conservation organizations, including Conservation International. U.Va. investigators also are working closely with the World Bank on projects in the Galapagos and Machu Picchu.

“With this lecture series, featuring the co-authors of the book Hotspots Revisited, and distinguished scientists Simon Stuart and Kevin Gaston, the University community will have first-hand reports from the frontiers of biodiversity and conservation science around the globe,” said Ariel Gomez, vice president for research and graduate studies. “Their research has enormous implications for the way we think about the natural world, and these programs will provide ample opportunities for public discussion.”

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Tamela Davis at 924-3606.

March 23, 4 p.m., Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library Reading Room, Clark Hall

Panel discussion, “Picturing Nature, Understanding Conservation: Hotspots Revisited.” A Virginia Festival of the Book session with Conservation International, featuring Hotspots Revisited co-authors Thomas Brooks, Michael Hoffmann, John Lamoreux and photographer Christina Mittermeier. Through heart-stopping photographs and cutting-edge analysis, get a tour of the world's richest ecosystems from scientists and photographers who stand at the frontlines of conservation biology today. A book signing and reception will follow.

Brooks heads the Conservation Synthesis Department in Conservation International's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science.  An ornithologist by training, he has extensive field experience in the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya and Paraguay.

Lamoreux specializes in the study of endangered and declining species.  As a professional field ecologist with the World Wildlife Fund, Lamoreux was primary scientist on the development in 2003 of the most comprehensive database of terrestrial vertebrates and their distribution within ecosystems.

Hoffmann, is based in the Species Programme in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature-World Conservation Union, where he coordinates initiatives on the global status of biodiversity. His principal expertise is in the field of mammalogy; he is co-editor of the forthcoming multi-volume book, “The Mammals of Africa.”

Cristina Mittermeier, trained as a marine biologist, uses photography to address issues in biodiversity that scientific papers typically resist.  Her photographs frequently appear in Conservation International and National Geographic Society publications and exhibits.  She also chairs the newly formed International League of Conservation Photography.

April 12, 4 p.m., Clark Hall, Room 108

“The Best and Worst of Times: Patterns and Problems in Biodiversity,” by Kevin J. Gaston, professor of biodiversity and conservation, University of Sheffield. A Department of Environmental Sciences Moore Lecture, with a reception to follow.

Gaston’s research focuses on the fields of biodiversity and macroecology, with, as a central unifying theme, the study of variation in the geographic distributions of species. He gives particular emphasis to geographic scale patterns and dynamics, and their consequences for conservation.

March-June, Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library

The Art of Representing Nature (with Conservation International). An exhibit.