The Ecological Human
2015 Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series - The Web of Life and the Ecological Human
Traditionally, most ecological research has studied ecosystems as separate from humans. In her second lecture, Dunne shows how humans fit into and impact ecosystems through their myriad interactions with other species. She then explores how the science of ecological networks can help meet the pressing need to understand the roles of humans in ecosystems, particularly in terms of resource use and consumption. With examples from pre-industrial hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies, she will explore potential lessons for modern humans in fostering a more sustainable future.
Life has a hidden order. In two lectures over two nights, ecologist Jennifer Dunne will reveal surprising characteristics shared by ecosystems in radically different environments, comprising different species, and across time. By highlighting patterns in the architecture of how species, including humans, interact, she reveals new ways to understand the sustainability of ecosystems past, present, and future.
Lecture I - The hidden order of complex ecosystems.
Dunne shares surprising findings from her research of food webs, the networks of who eats whom in nature. After revealing hidden ecological order, she explores the underlying forces that constrain and organize ecosystems across hundreds of millions of years, from the explosion of biodiversity in the deep-time Cambrian period, long before the dinosaurs, to the deteriorating condition of ecosystems in the present day. She then describes characteristics that can fortify ecosystems against species loss and environmental change.
SFI’s Community Lecture series is generously sponsored by Thornburg Investment Management