Raymond O’Connor Seminar Series

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 3, 2010) — As scientists discuss the concept and possible ramifications of global warming and climate change, one has to wonder what is in store for the future of our environment?

In an effort to educate individuals on the possible implications of climate change, Dr. Joshua Lawler, assistant professor at the University of Washington, will present a free, public presentation “Projected Climate Impacts on the Fauna of the Western Hemisphere,” at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 11, in Bate 1031 at East Carolina University. This lecture is the second installment in the Raymond J. O’Connor Seminar Series, sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology, which features lectures and discussions by leading scientists on recent advances and challenging propositions in the ecological and philosophical fields of science.

During the presentation, Lawlerwill address how recent changes in the Earth’s climate have resulted in ecological changes in phenology, species distributions, community composition and ecosystem dynamics. He will provide observations on the effects of climate change on species distributions and the resulting implications for conservation.

“Because climate change estimates for the coming decade are predicted to be more severe than past changes, we are likely to see even more drastic effects on ecological systems in the future,” said Lawler.

Lawler received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and his master’s and doctoral degrees in ecology from Utah State University. He served as a National Research Council Associate at the US Environmental Protection Agency from 2001-03.

Lawler’s research interests lie mainly in the fields of conservation biology and landscape ecology. More specifically, he is interested in how human activities affect ecological systems at large spatial scales. Current research projects include projecting climate-induced shifts in species distributions, investigating the effects of climate change on protected lands, modeling population dynamics in changing landscapes, developing tools for conservation planning and modeling watershed recovery from acidification.

The Raymond J. O’Connor Seminar Series was established to honor the memory of Dr. Raymond J. O’Connor (1944-2005). O’Connor was selected to become a member of the ECU biology faculty in fall 2005, but his struggle with a terminal disease and his subsequent death in September 2005 prevented him from officially assuming his faculty role. The goal of the seminar series is to educate, explore and exchange ideas and topics related to quantitative ecology and the philosophy of science.

For additional information, contact the Department of Biology at 252-328-6718 or email Enrique Reyes, associate professor of biology, at reyese@ecu.edu. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.