Wed, July 21, 14:30 hrs (UTC±00:00)
How Can Scientists Make Meaningful Contributions to the Biodiversity Crisis?
Biodiversity is a crucial component of all ecosystems and essential to the well-being of our Planet. Today we have more tools than ever to study biodiversity, but we also are up against a biodiversity crisis where under "business as usual” we may lose from one-third to one-half of all species by the beginning of the next century. It is essential that scientists become fully engaged and step up to help mitigate this crisis. This panel includes three experts who have worked to understand and monitor biodiversity patterns, to understand the couplings between biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being, and to apply their science to influence forest and biodiversity policies. They offer their insights as to how scientists can contribute to a better future.
Loiselle holds a joint appointment as the Director of the Tropical Conservation and Development in the Center for Latin American Studies and Professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She joined the Center in 2011 following an 18 month detail as Director of the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation. From 1990 to 2010, Loiselle was a Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and was Director of the International Center for Tropical Ecology from 1997–2003. Loiselle’s research focuses on understanding the importance of biodiversity in tropical systems, especially the ecological role of animals as seed dispersers, and the potential consequences of global change on distribution of plants and animals. She is also investigating the evolutionary ecology of lek-mating systems in birds and how the spatial ecology of females influences mate choice decisions and male reproductive strategies.
Dr. Onja Razafindratsima is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California Berkeley. She completed her Ph.D. at Rice University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and her undergraduate and Master studies in Animal Biology, Ecology and Conservation at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Before joining UC Berkeley, she has held several academic positions, including as a Hrdy Fellow in Conservation at Harvard University. She is broadly interested in tropical ecology, plant-animal interactions, and community ecology. She also aims to apply her research findings to biodiversity conservation. Much of her work has been conducted in the tropical forests of Madagascar, with a focus on lemurs and plants. She often uses an integrative approach combining empirical work, such as field surveys and experiments, with simulation-based modeling and phylogenetic tools to address her research questions at various spatial and temporal scales.
Patty Balvanera is a professor at the Institute for Ecosystems and Sustainability Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She was trained in biology, ethnobotany and ecology. Within large inter- and trans-disciplinary teams and research networks, she explores the role of biodiversity in contributing to human well-being via ecosystem services and analyzes the dynamics of social ecological systems. At the local scale, she monitors the dynamics of managed diverse tropical systems, and co-develop more sustainable food systems in diverse teams brought together by creatives around the kitchen. At the global scale, she develops conceptual frameworks and monitoring strategies, performs cross-site syntheses, and undertakes systematic literature reviews. She has led several inter- and trans-disciplinary initiatives such as the Scientific Committee of the Programme for Ecosystem Change and Society, a Core Project of Future Earth, the Mexican Network on Social Ecological Systems and Sustainability, and is the Co-Chair of the Values Assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. She is currently associate editor of Science Advances, People and Nature, Ecology and Society, Ecosystem Services, and Ecosystems and People.
Dr. Chapman’s research focuses on how the environment influences animal abundance and social organization and given their plight, he has applied his research to primate conservation. Colin Chapman received his joint Ph.D. in the Departments of Anthropology and Zoology at the University of Alberta. He spent 2 years at McGill and 3 years at Harvard University doing post-doctoral research. Since 1990 he has served as an Honourary lecturer in the Department of Zoology at Makerere University, Uganda and since 1995 he has been a Conservation Fellow with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Colin also served as a faculty member in Zoology at the University of Florida for 11 years and returned to McGill in 2004 where he held a Canada Research Chair Tier 1 position in Primate Ecology and Conservation. He is a Wilson Center Fellow, Killam Research Fellow, Velan Foundation Awardee for Humanitarian Service, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2018 he was awarded the Konrad Adenauer Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and an Office of an Academician, Northwest University, Xi’an, China. In 2019 he took up a position at George Washington University to allow him to more time for his conservation efforts. For the last 32+ years, Dr. Chapman has conducted research in Kibale National Park, Uganda. During this time, he has not just been an academic, but has devoted great effort to help the rural communities, establishing schools, clinics, a mobile clinic, and ecotourism projects. He has published 530+ articles, been cited 43000+ times, has a H factor of 107 (Google Scholar).
Raman Sukumar, Professor of Ecology at IISc, Bengaluru, is known for his pioneering research on the ecology, behaviour, and conservation of Asian elephants. His research interests are tropical forest ecology and climate change. In 1988 he established the country’s longest-running ecological monitoring programme in the Western Ghats and has contributed extensively to Indian government policy on conservation. The author of four books on the elephant and many scientific papers, he is the recipient of several national and international awards, the most notable being the International Cosmos Prize in 2006. He also contributed to the work of IPCC that shared the Nobel Peace Prize (2007). His most recent scientific contribution is an edited volume Tropical Conservation: Perspectives on Local and Global Priorities (Oxford University Press, New York, 2017). Currently, he is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study, Kyoto University, Japan. He is an elected Fellow of TWAS and all the three major science academies in India (FASc in 2000).