The Curious Naturalist Seminar Series

February 16, 2012

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been indefinitely postponed until further notice.

Dr Stephen P. Hubbell and panel of distinguished local ecologists

(co-hosted with IoES), Co-hosts Dan Blumstein and Bradley Shaffer

" Life in the Balance: How fast are Species Going Extinct?"
A Panel Discussion

Conservation scientists have long predicted a massive extinction of species resulting from human destruction of habitat.    The most widespread method used to make that prediction, relies on reversing the basic relationship between species and habitat area—that, as habitat area is loss occurred, that loss would result in somewhat predictable rates of species extinction.  Recent studies by Dr. Fangliang He, an ecologist at the University of Alberta and at Sun Yat-sen University and Dr. Steve Hubbell, an ecologist at UCLA ,resulted in a very provocative and controversial paper published in Nature showing that methods widely used to of estimating species extinction rates from habitat loss are biased and over estimate extinction rates.  This paper has been met with a firestorm of criticism within the conservation science community.  Join us in a penetrating discussion as Dan Blumstein and Bradley Shaffer guide a panel discussion that includes the authors He and Hubbell, UCLA Conservation Biologist Thomas Smith and UCLA Law Professor Cara Horowitz in a discussion about the science – and the larger issues and implications in public, legal and policy spheres that underpin the controversy here.  Should scientists ever withhold scientific findings because of social or political considerations, or the potential impact on their own careers? How far does criticism of such findings go before it becomes spin, propaganda and simply personal ad hominem attack? How do such findings and controversies within the scientific community impact the public view, policy and regulation?

For additional information see Dr. Hubbell's Nature paper "Species-area relationships always overestimate extinction rates from habitat loss"

Additionally, check out an interview with Dr. Hubbell YouTube video