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Castle Lecture Series
Talks are held monthly and are webcast live. Videos archived here.

Living in the Anthropocene: Prospects for Climate, Economics, Health, and Security
9 October 2014
Webcast available here.

Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 12, 2014
Archive available here.

Scots in the American West Symposium
8 August 2013
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Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 14, 2013
Archive available here.

The Anthropocene: Planet Earth in the Age of Humans
11 October 2012
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Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 10, 2012
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Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet
March 1, 2012
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Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 18, 2011
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Castle Lecture Series

Museums, Biodiversity and the Anthropocene

This lecture is part of the monthly Castle Lecture Series hosted by the Smithsonian's Grand Challenges Consortia.

Kris Helgen
Research Zoologist and Curator-in-Charge of Mammals
National Museum of Natural History
March 19, 2014
Noon – 1:00pm EST

Studies characterizing biological variation and diversity, which are enormously valuable to science and society, have for centuries been the mainstay biological usage for natural history museum collections. Even with rapidly changing technology, especially involving genomic techniques, these traditional uses (systematics, biogeography) remain the principal collections-based disciplinary emphases for biological research programs in natural history museums. Studies relevant to modern environmental change, and health and disease, among others, also represent important uses for museum collections, but these receive less focal attention within natural history institutions, collections, or curator-led research programs. Very large economic (and other) impacts of rapidly changing environments, climates, and disease landscapes in the Anthropocene highlight a need for organized efforts to expand natural history research programs to incorporate additional uses of collections as “core business” that can complement studies of systematic biology. Indeed, critical documentation of Anthropocene impacts, and the future of natural history museums, including public impressions of their relevance, may depend on it.

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The presentation will be webcast and archived on this page.