John Glenn Distinguished Lecture Series - Dr. Susan Kidwell
Bio: Dr. Susan Kidwell is the William Rainey Harper Professor in Geophysical Sciences and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, where she has taught since 1985. She is a sedimentary geologist and paleoecologist who has combined geological fieldwork, laboratory experiments, statistical meta-analysis, and measurements in modern environments to investigate how the fossil record forms and how best to use it to understand the past and anticipate the future of today’s biodiversity. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Paleontological Society, and the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2015 Mary Clark Thompson Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.
"Unsuspected Collapse Southern California Marine Communities in Historic Times: Novel Insights from Very Young Fossils”
One of the great challenges in environmental management and conservation biology is discovering ‘what was natural’ before human impacts. This problem is especially pressing in marine systems where biological monitoring and other records are brief or lacking. Prof. Susan Kidwell has been tackling this problem by treating the dead shells present in the top few inches of the seabed as a young fossil record, using earth science methods to reveal dramatic, unsuspected changes in species' distributions. Reconstructing the ecological history of the last few thousand years highlights the profound ways in which seafloor communities have been transformed in response to land-use and other human stresses, providing a powerful tool that can help set priorities for restoration.