Pleistocene Rewilding: Lions in a Den of Daniels?

Harry Greene

Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Harry Greene
Photo courtesy of Cynthia Prado

Almost ten years ago a group of us published papers in Nature and American Naturalist that proposed partially restoring the lost North American Pleistocene megafauna with conspecifics or closely related proxies for tortoises, cheetah, elephants, and other species. In this seminar I will summarize our initiative and the subsequent response from conservation biologists and the public, with emphasis on implications for conserving biodiversity on a rapidly changing Earth.

Harry Greene was professor and curator in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, for two decades before moving to Cornell in 1999 where he is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and curator of herpetology. Harry is president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and California Academy of Sciences. Harry’s honors include Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Cornell’s top teaching award: a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowship, and the Edward O. Wilson Naturalist Award. In 2014, Business Insider named him one of Cornell’s “Top Ten Professors”. His Snakes:The Evolution of Mystery in Nature, won a PEN Literary Award, garnered a two-page spread in Time magazine, and made the New York Times’ annual list of 100 Most Notable Books.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Reception 4:30 p.m.
Talk 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Changing biodiversity, changing climate, and good ol’ basic research

Mary O’Connor

Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Associate Director, Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia

Mary O'Connor 2012Biodiversity is changing. Or is it? Detecting biodiversity change, and attributing observed changes do drivers of interest, be they succession, disturbance or anthropogenic drivers, is a fundamental challenge in ecological research. These challenges in biodiversity science have been faced for two decades in climate change ecology, and lessons can be learned from climate impacts science about detection and attribution of change. I will present a synthesis of marine biodiversity time-series, and an analysis to detect and attribute recent biodiversity trends. I will emphasize the importance of considering basic ecological knowledge and approaches to consider how we would expect diversity to change through time before we conclude that a particular temporal trajectory is surprising, or before we announce that a particular trend through time is proof of climate change impacts. Finally, I will present research linking herbivore abundance to temperature via metabolic scaling in an attempt to produce prior.

Wednesday, March 18, 1:45-2:45 PM
Coor 174

A Hugh Hanson Seminar

Hosted by Leah Gerber, CBO Director and Professor, School of Life Sciences


Alison Deming

Alison demmingAlison Deming will read from her book Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit and the closing event for the biodiversity exhibit, Trout Fishing in America and Other stories

Friday, January 16th
2:30 PM – Participatory reading of species inhabiting the Grand Canyon
3:30 PM – Alison Deming reading

Top Gallery
ASU Art Museum
51 E 10th Street, Tempe

Download event flyer here: Alison Deming Talk


Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Launch – November 13th & 14th, 2014

Join us to celebrate the launch of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes!

GeorginaMaceThis November we will present a series of events that address the meaning of biodiversity and our shared challenges and opportunities in biodiversity conservation. We welcome you to engage with distinguished ecologist Georgina Mace in a public lecture at the Desert Botanical Garden or a more science-focused seminar at the ASU Art Museum.

Georgina Mace’s work centers on assessing extinction risk and measuring the trends and consequences of biodiversity loss and change. Winner of the international Cosmos prize, she has been president of the British Ecological Society, president of the Society for Conservation Biology, and chair of the international programme on biodiversity science, DIVERSITAS. More about Georgina Mace

Georgina Mace at the Desert Botanical Garden

“Accounting for Nature: Past, Present, and Future”

Nature offers irreplaceable benefits: aesthetics and health as well as more utilitarian benefits such as clean water, productive soils, and an equable climate. But rapid changes are now underway, which jeopardize many of the valued benefits we take for granted. In this talk, Mace will discuss ways of understanding and reacting to these trends, bringing the benefits from nature closer to everyday planning for people, businesses, and governments.

This event is co-sponsored by the Desert Botanical Garden, the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. This event is open to the public. It will introduce biodiversity and highlight the center’s partnerships and goals. Come and meet us!

Thursday, November 13th

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Dorrance Hall, Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona 85008

Reception to follow

Directions and Parking

RSVP for this Event

Georgina Mace at the ASU Art Museum

“Measuring and Modeling Changes to Local Biodiversity”

Dr. Mace will present new results from a large scale analysis quantifying how local biodiversity responds to human pressures over large spatial scales, and new approaches to tracking species conservation status over time. This seminar takes an in-depth scientific look at biodiversity challenges. This seminar, sponsored by the School of Life Sciences, is an opportunity for researchers and partners to engage with Dr. Mace and with each other on biodiversity issues. Following the seminar, the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will host a reception and gallery tour of Trout Fishing in America.

Friday, November 14

Arizona State University Art Museum

Seminar: Kesge Gallery, 2-3 PM

Gallery Tour and Reception: Top Gallery, 3-4 PM

Mill Avenue and 10th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281

Reception sponsored by the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes.

Directions and Parking

RSVP for this Event

Contact us for more information about our events.

The New Role of NGOs for Participative Conservation and Sustainability Science in Mexico

Jorge Torre Cosio

Comunidad y Biodiversidad A. C.

Multi-scale governance for effective marine resource management suggests collective decision making, the devolution of some rights and responsibilities to various entities, co-production of knowledge, and coupling governance and ecological scales. This talk will describe the elements of multi-scale governance of Mexican small-scale fisheries and the contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to this approach. Given NGOs’ agenda shift in the Gulf of California region from advocacy for environmental conservation to participation in sustainable management, this research highlights how NGOs can contribute to multi-scale governance through a framework for the evaluation of management processes and the contribution of different stakeholders applied to any management process.

jorge-torreJorge Torre is the Executive Director and co-founder of Comunidad y Biodiversidad, (, a nongovernmental organization focusing on the conservation of marine biodiversity through effective participatory approaches. He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources, The University of Arizona, in 2002.

Better Environmental Decisions: We want them, but how do we get them?

Joe Arvai

We have witnessed, over the last several years, an explosion of interest in the science of judgment and decision-making. For example, bestsellers like Predictably Irrational and Thinking, Fast and Slow have provided engaging summaries of research focused on how people make choices. But, applications based on this research about how to improve the quality of important personal and policy choices has struggled to keep pace. This is especially the case when we think about problems (and opportunities) that demand what could be termed “active decision support”.

Dr. Arvai will talk about research conducted in his lab at the University of Calgary, which has focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools for use by people when making choices involving complex problems and consequential outcomes. Dr. Arvai’s research focuses on analytic and affective modes of judgment, and on developing and testing decision support systems that can be used to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts. These decision support systems can be classified as active (in that they decompose complex problems into more cognitively manageable parts) or passive (in that they modify human behavior in self-interested directions without modifying people’s decision-making tendencies).

Joe Arvai

Professor and Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research, University of Calgary

Senior Researcher, Decision ResearchEugene, Oregon

Adjunct Professor, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Member, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Environmental Change and Society


Monday, October 27, 2014

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Decision Center for a Desert City

21 E. 6th St, Ste 126B

Tempe, Arizona 85281

(lunch will be provided)

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Biodiversity and the Decision Center for a Desert City.

Click HERE for a video of this talk

Elephant Whispering: Effective Communication about Climate Change to the Public

Scott Denning

Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University.

A wealth of social science research has shown that public perception of climate change is very strongly colored by ideological filters in which facts are evaluated based on their fit to previously held beliefs. Scientific discourse about climate change is well received by environmentalism, which confirms the fears and competitive impulses of libertarianism. Scientists, educators, and science communicators must acknowledge the cultural context of climate change in order to lift climate discourse out of its ideological gutter. Emphasizing recent trends, current weather events and impacts, and especially argument from authority of expertise and consensus are effective with average audiences but trigger reflexive opposition from suspicious listeners. Beyond ideology, climate change is Simple, Serious, and Solvable. Effective communication of these three key ideas can succeed when the science argument is carefully framed to avoid attack of the audience’s ethical identity. Simple arguments from common sense and everyday experience are more successful than data. Serious consequences to values that resonate with the audience can be avoided by solutions that don’t threaten those values.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3-4 PM

LSA 119

View PDF

Hosted by Kevin Gurney

Presented as part of The School of Life Sciences Hugh Hanson Ecology Seminar Series