The Future of Biodiversity
Faculty of Science and Engineering
25th Anniversary Public Lecture Series Invitation
The Future of Biodiversity
By: Distinguished Professor & Australian Laureate William F. Laurance
Date: Thursday 16th August 2012
Time: 5.30pm for wine and cheese, lecture starts at 6.00pm.
Place: Crowther Lecture Theatre, James Cook University, Cairns.
Please register online at https://alumni.jcu.edu.au/FSECns2012
or RSVP Sue Kelly by Tuesday 14th August on 4042 1456 or
How many species exist on Earth? Where do these species live? And what will happen to them in the future? I will explore these and other fundamental questions that will determine the fate of life on Earth. There is great uncertainty about the number of species alive today, with credible estimates ranging from 2-50 million species, excluding microbes. New genetic, databasing and swarm-intelligence techniques are rapidly improving our ability to identify and catalog species. Species are not randomly distributed across the planet but tend to be concentrated in certain ‘hotspots’, many of which are in the tropics and are among the most imperiled environments on Earth today. Most hotspots sustain rapidly growing human populations and are likely to come under even greater pressures from land-use and climate change in the coming century. We face dual challenges: sustaining the natural biological wealth of the planet and identifying vast number of unknown species before they vanish forever.
William Laurance is Distinguished Research Professor and an Australian Laureate at James Cook University in Cairns. He also holds the Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation at Utrecht University, Netherlands.
Professor Laurance joined JCU in 2009 after having spent 14 years as a senior scientist with the Smithsonian Institution, based in Brazil and Panama. He is also a research associate at Harvard University and the Smithsonian.
Professor Laurance’s research focuses on the impacts of intensive land-uses, such as habitat fragmentation, logging, and wildfires, on tropical forests and species, as well as climate change and conservation policy. For the past thirty years his research has spanned the tropical world, from the Amazon and Africa to the Asia-Pacific and tropical Australia. He has published six books and over 350 scientific and popular articles to date.
Laurance received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989 and then held research positions with the CSIRO Tropical Forest Research Centre and Wet Tropics Management Authority in north Queensland, before joining the Smithsonian Institution.
A leading voice for conservation, Professor Laurance believes scientists must actively engage policy makers and the general public, as well as other scientists. He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and former president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, the world’s largest scientific organization devoted to the study and preservation of tropical ecosystems. He has received many scientific honors including the prestigious BBVA Frontiers in Ecology and Conservation Biology Award, a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology and the Heineken Environment Prize.