College of Science Lecture Series: Catalysts of Change
Our Rapidly Changing Biosphere
Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
College of Science, University of Arizona
Associate Professor, Associate Director, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona
What does the future hold for the biodiversity of our planet, and why should we care? Ecosystems connect the biosphere’s living and physical components through the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrients—and ecosystems sustain society. However, the biosphere is now rapidly changing. In this talk, we will travel from lowland tropical rainforests to alpine wetlands to highlight the importance of biodiversity in ecosystems. From the diversity and complexity of microscopic life in soils to the diversity of ecosystems along climate gradients, we will show why biodiversity is changing across scales and why this matters. Throughout, we emphasize the factors that promote and maintain biodiversity as well as why change in the biosphere is accelerating. Many questions remain: what is the future of the biosphere and biodiversity on an increasingly human dominated planet? And how much time do we have left to promote a sustainable earth?