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RW Moriarty Science Seminar: Daniel Hughes
February 24, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Speaker: Daniel Hughes
“Biodiversity research from Africa to North America”
From molecules to biomes, biodiversity represents the cumulative biological diversity that has evolved during Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history. Biodiversity is not only vital to sustaining ecosystems, but it also makes significant contributions to human wellbeing through water quality, crop pollination, and medicine. Recent anthropogenic changes to the environment, consequently, foreshadow dire consequences for humanity by driving biodiversity declines at a rate faster than at any time in human history. In the current era of mass extinction, scientists recognize the need to work more rapidly, but this can lead to spatial biases in biodiversity research, such that key regions for conservation and important human-wildlife interfaces are often the least studied. Here, Dr. Daniel Hughes details case studies of biodiversity research in understudied systems across two continents: chameleon evolution in a Central African biodiversity hotspot and treefrog biology in the agriculture fields of Coastal California. Results derived from integrative taxonomy, field-based neuroanatomy, and amphibian-inspired fences have far-reaching implications for helping to curb the loss of species and their associated traits. These studies provide a third to first world perspective on the range of threats facing biodiversity and on the continuum of conservation goals.