Monday, 6 February 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 09 February 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Winter 2017
09 February 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Technology for Nature?

Prof Kate Jones

(University College London, UK)

Photo: Kate Jones / Bat Conservation Trust

Our seminar series continues for the winter term with a talk by Prof Kate Jones from the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment at University College London. Kate holds a Chair of Ecology and Biodiversity and leads the biodiversity modelling research group, interested in understanding how biodiversity is maintained and conserved globally. Her research revolves around three themes: understanding biodiversity patterns, modelling ecological processes, and technology for nature, the latter of which will be the topic of this week's seminar. 

For example, Kate and her group aim to understand how evolutionary processes produce past and present global biodiversity patterns, or find ways to predict the impacts of global change. The latter includes quantifying how biodiversity loss impacts the emergence and transmission of diseases, incl. human emerging infectious diseases. To do so, Kate tries to find new technological solutions to improve current biodiversity monitoring and to engage citizen scientists. 

Above all, however, a unifying theme is certainly an inordinate fondness for bats.

Wild nature and natural ecosystems are declining rapidly as humans use more of the earth’s resources and change climate patterns. Thanks to the growth of networks of citizen scientists and new sensor technology such as animal movement tags, camera traps and passive acoustic sensors, scientists studying the impact of anthropogenic change now have access to huge amounts of data about our changing environment and declining wildlife populations. 

Professor Kate Jones will review some of the latest advances in sensors used to monitor wildlife and machine learning approaches to analyse the big biodiversity data gathered, including her work on acoustic monitoring bat populations. Kate argues that although technological advances have undoubtedly contributed to the over-exploitation of natural resources and decline of wild nature, technology can also help us to better understand the natural world and to further engage people with their environment.

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

For the list of forthcoming seminars, see here, and here

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