Tuesday, November 7, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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HUH Room 125, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge

Harvard University Herbaria Seminar

"Hitting the Conservation Nail with Our Phylogenetics Hammer" with Arne Mooers, Professor of Biodiversity, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University.

Many evolutionary biologists embraced the idea that phylogenies offered a guide to prioritizing taxa and places for conservation; finally, our work could be put to good use. However, 25 years after Dan Faith formalized the idea (in a paper now cited >1400 times), we still have done little more than talk about it. Drawing on the collective efforts of an ongoing working group, I ask whether we should put the idea to use. So, does more phylogeny lead to more worthwhile stuff – more individual traits useful to us now or in the future, broader collections of traits that contribute to ecosystem services, more aesthetic wellbeing, or more raw materials for future biodiversity production? Key assumptions are shaky, theory is meager, and tests are limited. Perhaps not surprisingly, several links require more understanding of ecology as well as of evolution. In general, I believe phylogeny is a conservation tool whose time may, but has still not yet, come.

Contact Name: 

Jeannette Everritt

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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