Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 05 May 2016

Biosciences Seminar Series - Spring 2016
05 May 2016 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Predicting wildlife dynamics in a changing environment

Dr Ben Collen

We live amid a global wave of anthropogenically driven biodiversity loss. Over the past decade, numerous metrics for biodiversity — including species abundance, extinction risk, distribution, genetic variability, species turnover, and trait diversity—have been used to create indicators to track how biodiversity has changed.  These indicators have made it
 clear that broad scale biodiversity loss, however it is measured, is showing 
little sign of abatement and 
that humans must respond to safeguard the provision of natural services on which we all rely. 
Butchert etal 2010 Science

But which metrics provide 
the most informative indicators
 under which circumstances? And how can the growing list of indicators best serve conservation policy decisions? I review the responses of animal populations to a range of human mediated drivers of change, showing where biological science has been effective at tracking recent changes in nature, and where gaps remain. I then examine prospects for predicting future changes, and why they matter to the biosphere and humans. 

I argue that evidence-based modelling can allow the causal relationships between policy actions, biodiversity change and indicators of change to be better understood. Developed correctly, indicators can start to tell us how we can best conserve biodiversity, not simply that we are failing to do so. 

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

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