UC San Diego biologists are launching a study to examine the
genetics, behavior and the interaction of organisms with their environments.
They will share their insights of how modern ecology
provides a scientific basis for conservation in a series of public talks
presented by UCSD's Division of Biological Sciences called Nature Matters.
"Nature matters simply because nature provides us with oxygen,
and clean water, and a planet at with the right range of temperatures," said
conservation geneticist David Woodruff, a professor of biology in the Division
of Biological Sciences, who will give the first lecture. "Our own survival on
this planet depends on our sustaining life and stewarding nature."
Woodruff will speak about "Conservation and the Futures of
Life" at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park at 6:30 pm on Thursday,
November 6. The event is free and registration begins at 6:00 pm at the museum.
"Nature, in all its diversity, sustains our habitable
planet and makes it a fascinating place to live," said Steve Kay, Dean of
the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego. "With these lectures
we hope to inform the public and help all of us to collectively choose wise
actions that will preserve this richness."
A world that is fast losing species and is becoming
dominated by simplified ecological communities may no longer provide humans
with these "ecological services" on which we depend, Woodruff said. Conserving
the complexity of nature is one goal of his own genetic work, which has
revealed previously unrecognized unique populations of animals from local
loggerhead shrikes that live only on San Clemente Island to new types of elephants
and chimpanzees living across the globe in Africa.
Woodruff, who as a trustee for the Zoological Society of San
Diego fosters conservation research at the San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and
Center for Research on of Endangered Species, will also talk about the
importance of zoos and parks, the need for adaptive conservation strategies in
a world with a changing climate, and why he harbors hope that humans will rise
to the challenges once they realize how much nature matters.
All five lectures will be held at the San Diego Natural
History Museum in Balboa Park on Thursdays at 6:30 pm. Those lectures will be
taped by UCSD-TV for later broadcast on local cable channels. Topics and
and the Futures of Life by David Woodruff, November 6, 2008
and Death Among the Flowers: the Perils and Secret Language of Bees by
James Nieh, January 22, 2009
on the Edge: Ingenious Survival Strategies in the Sonoran and Mojave
Deserts by Therese Markow, February 26, 2009
Change and Southern California Ecosystems by Elsa Cleland, April 30, 2009
Marching: A Biological Invasion in Your Own Backyard by David Holway, May 14, 2009