Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene

Since the retreat of glaciers poleward over 10,000 years ago, humans have left an ever increasing fingerprint on ecological systems across the globe. The environment is now dominated by people—approximately 1/3 of land area has been transformed for human use and 1/4 of global productivity diverted to human consumption. While concepts such as wilderness attempt to escape this reality, there is virtually no habitat on earth devoid of some sign of humans influence on the globe—be it chemical, thermal, or a missing or introduced species. Today, this imprint is so pronounced that scientists are actively debating naming a new geological epoch demarcated by the sign of humans on the earth system itself: the Anthropocene.

In the shadow of this debate, the HUCE seminar series "Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene" will examine the future of social-environmental systems in a globe heavily impacted by humans. Each year the series will present a set of speakers and events (e.g., seminars, panels, debates) focused on one perspective under this theme.

The theme for the first year is "Novel Ecosystems, Novel Climates: Is today’s environment unprecedented?"
Future years' themes will cover: ‘Will the sixth mass extinction ever end? Human imprints on the tree of life,’ ‘The future of engineered ecosystems: Crops’ and ‘The Anthropocene as the Homogene: Disease, invasive species and globalization’


Thursday, April 21 - WATCH VIDEO

"Novel climate-Novel Ecosystems: Effects of directional changes in precipitation amount and variability" 

OSVALDO SALA, Julie A. Wrigley Chair and Foundation Professor, School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Wednesday, March 30 - WATCH VIDEO

"Ecological novelty, old and new: Conservation in a post-normal world."

STEPHEN JACKSON, Director of Southwest Climate Science Center, University of Arizona

Wednesday, February 3 - WATCH VIDEO

"Uncharted Waters? Novel ecosystems in the marine environment"

With panelists: JEREMY JACKSON, Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, and Ritter Professor of Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; TREVOR BRANCH, Associate Professor, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington; and JOHN PANDOLFI, ARC Professorial Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.

Moderated By: MARY O'CONNOR, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology and Associate Director, Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 24 Oxford Street, 3rd Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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