2020 - 2021 SPEAKER BIOS
September 23 - 24, 2020
Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment
Dr. Abi Vanak's work focuses on the outcome of interactions between species at the interface of humans, domestic animals and wildlife in semi-arid savannas and agro-ecosystems. He is also interested in OneHealth systems such as the dynamics of rabies transmission in multi-host systems and in understanding the role of small and medium mammals as tick hosts in the transmission dynamics of Kyasanur forest disease.
October 7 - 8, 2020
Assistant Professor of Geography
West Virginia University
Dr. Jonathan Hall's focuses on human impacts to species abundance and persistence, specifically, in how local culture and subsistence practices impact threatened and endangered species. He seeks to make positive contributions to solving environmental challenges using multiple disciplinary lenses including, ecology, wildlife conservation, indigenous geographies, Black geographies, and political ecology.
November 11 - 12, 2020
Assistant Professor of Biological Studies
Dr. Jessica Hua's research focuses on understanding how anthropogenic chemicals influence aquatic systems and employ a multidisciplinary approach that combines concepts and tools from ecology, evolution, and toxicology. She works with diverse organisms including amphibians, zooplankton, amphipods, isopods, snails, and insects. Current research topics in her lab include: community ecotoxicology, evotoxicology, disease ecology, and phenotypic plasticity.
December 9 - 10, 2020
Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Tadashi Fukami studies priority effects, or the historical contingencies that determine the assembly of ecological communities. He has found that priority effects can modify major biodiversity patterns and seeks to build a framework capable of predicting which communities will be historically contingient. To biuld this framework he studies functional consequences, evolutionary dynamics, transient states, and niche-based predictions on a variety of microbes, plants, and animals.
January 20 - 21, 2021
Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology & Management
University of Georgia
Dr. James Beasley's research focuses on theoretical and applied questions in wildlife ecology and management. Much of his research is interdisciplinary and uses a combination of field and laboratory approaches to develop science-based solutions to facilitate the management and conservation of wildlife. Although much of his research is focused on carnivores, he also works on birds, wild pigs, small mammals, and invertebrates.
February 3 - 4, 2021
Assistant Professor of Aquatic & Fishery Science
Univeristy of Washington
Dr. Chelsea Wood's research program explores the ecology of parasites and pathogens in a changing world. Most of her work has been in marine ecosystems where biodiversity is driven in large part by fishing, but she also studies freshwater environments. Her past work tested for correlation between fishing and parasite assemblage composition and diversity. Recently she has begun studying historical ecology of marine and freshwater parasitism.
February 17 - 18, 2021
Professor of Forest Entomology / Pathology
University of Montana
Dr. Diana Six's primary research focus is on the evolution and maintenance of symbioses particularly those occurring among bark beetles, ambrosia beetles and fungi. This work includes collaborative efforts with scientists in the US, South Africa, Sweden, and Mexico. She also conducts research on various aspects of bark beetle ecology and management, including investigations into how bark beetles may affect the ability of forests to adapt to climate change.
March 3 - 4, 2021
George W. Pack Professor of Ecology, Natural Resources, & Environment
University of Michigan
Dr. Ivette Perfecto's research focuses on biodiversity and arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in rural and urban agriculture. She also works on spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem and is interested more broadly in the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, and food sovereignty. Her recent research is related to ecosystem services in agroforestry systems in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
March 24 - 25, 2021
Director of the Georgetown Environment Initiative
Dr. Peter Marra studies the ecology and conservation of birds throughout their full life cycles. He has authored over 225 papers on various aspects of the biology and conservation of birds and other animals, as well as on topics as broad as urban disease ecology. He co-edited the frequently cited book – Birds of Two Worlds and recently published a second book – Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of Cuddly Killer.
April 21 - 22, 2021
Associate Scientist & Arctic Program Director
Woods Hole Research Center
Dr. Susan Natali is an Arctic ecologist who studies the response of Arctic ecosystems to a changing environment and the local to global impacts of these changes. Her research examines the effects of permafrost thaw and fire on global climate. She has worked extensively in remote regions of Alaska and Siberia conducting research and—as the Director of the Polaris Project—training the next generation of Arctic scientists..