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This lecture is part of the monthly Castle Lecture Series hosted by the Smithsonian's Grand Challenges Consortia.
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.
For additional information please contact Consortia@si.edu.
The presentation will be webcast and archived on this page.