Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series 2013-14

UCR Palm Desert Boyd Deep CanyonThe clash between renewable energy and wildlife conservation; the hidden information in hummingbird song; and how collecting and cooking impede turtle conservation: These are just a few of the tantalizing talks in the NRS’s Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center 2013-14 lecture series.

The lectures are facilitated by Dr. Allan Muth, director of the NRS’s Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, in partnership with the UC Riverside Palm Desert Center and The Living Desert. The lectures are held at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the UCR Palm Desert Center. All are free and open to the public.

6 p.m. Nov. 14 – Renewable Energy Development & Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Conservation: The New Frontier

Renewable energy development is experiencing a renaissance, particularly in the southwest deserts of the United States, where wind and solar energy potential is high. Dr. Jeffrey E. Lovich of the U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, will discuss recent surveys evaluating the effects of wind/solar facilities on wildlife. RSVP now!

6 p.m. Dec. 12 – Prying Into the Long Distance Romances of Plants

The exchange of genes between plant populations by seed, pollen or plants can have important evolutionary and applied consequences. But plant geneticists had dismissed such gene migration as too insignificant to have any impact – until Dr. Norman Ellstrand came along. Ellstrand, UCR professors of genetics in the department of botany and plant sciences, will discuss how his research radically challenged that view and how he applied what he found to answer questions about the risks of genetically engineered plants. RSVP now!

6 p.m. Jan. 9 – Why We Study Hummingbird Song

What can we learn from hummingbird song? The study of bird song has given us a richer understanding of the evolution of communication, the nature of human language and mind, and the impact of technology on the natural world. Dr. Anne Houtman, dean of the school of natural sciences, mathematics and engineering at California State University Bakersfield, will look at how hummingbirds’ little-studied song offers insight into these matters. RSVP now!

6 p.m. Feb. 13 – Turtle Trouble! Applying Science and Technology to Turtle Conservation

Turtles and tortoises are one of the most threatened groups of animals on the planet, with more than half of all turtle species at risk of extinction. This is a global phenomenon and while the usual suspects of habitat degradation and environmental change contribute to the problem, the biggest threat to many species are human consumption and exploitation. Taylor Edwards, assistant staff scientist at the University of Arizona, will explore the threats to turtles globally and what scientists are doing to save them. RSVP now!

6 p.m. March 13 – Animal Oceanographers: Using Animals to Tell Us About Their Environment

This examination of how marine animals can be used to get a better look at the environment will be presented by Dr. Dan Costa, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Such studies offer a better view of the animals’ ecology as well as a better understanding of the physical environment, while offering implications to the study of climate change. RSVP now!