Ecological Systems in the Anthropocene: Osvaldo Sala

April 21, 2016 — "Novel Climates - Novel Ecosystems: Effects of directional changes in precipitation amount and variability" with Osvaldo Sala, Julie A. Wrigley Professor of Life Sciences, Professor of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Osvaldo Sala is the Julie A. Wrigley Professor at Arizona State University. Before arriving at ASU, Sala was the Sloan Lindemann Distinguished Professor of Biology and Founding Director of the Environmental Change Initiative at Brown University. Sala's research focuses on responses of arid ecosystems to global changes and consequences on their ability to provide ecosystem services. His work is reflected in more than 200 publications, he is a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he sits on a number of national and international leadership committees.


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?"

For further information on the series and future events, CLICK HERE.