Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Academy of Natural Sciences Symposium - The Diversity of Life

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is presenting a symposium to celebrate 200 years of scientific research at the Academy on October 11 and 12, 2012. Building on the Academy’s research strengths in systematics and ecology, this symposium will explore current and future research on the diversity of life with a focus on evolutionary biology, ecology, and environmental quality.

Describing and recording the world’s biodiversity and determining its evolutionary history and ecology is a continual process that is far from complete. Symposium speakers will discuss new and innovative uses of museum collections to acquire more knowledge. They also will describe new approaches for determining the evolutionary origins and relationships of diverse groups of organisms. These approaches include recent developments in phylogenetic reconstruction, computer programming, evolutionary genetics, and reproductive biology.

The interactions among organisms and their environments along, with their impacts on environmental quality, are of considerable interest to ecologists today. Speaker presentations will address the relationship between the diversity of aquatic organisms and ecosystem functioning. Methods to survey organisms and define their ecological parameters in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be presented along with ways to assess, enhance, and preserve the environmental quality of these ecosystems. Speakers will consider the need for conservation, restoration, and policy development to assure environmental and social sustainability in a changing world.

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