Fall 2015 Department Seminars
Wednesdays, 12:30-1:40 PM in Natural Sciences Annex 101
(unless otherwise noted)
Anyone needing special arrangements to accommodate a disability should call 831-459-4986 two weeks prior to the date of the seminar they wish to attend.
Courtesy reminder - turn off cell phones and please observe considerate eating habits during seminars.
"Host-pathogen interactions: climate, evolution, and management"
Host: Bruce Lyon
"The interplay between ecology and evolution in predator-prey interactions"
Host: Steve Munch
"25 years of Cheetah Conservation – biology and ecology leading to conservation"
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and Africa’s most endangered big cat. Cheetah numbers have declined from around 100,000 in 1900 to fewer than 7,000 today due to habitat loss, decline of prey, and conflict with livestock farming. Historically, cheetahs have a small gene pool making the species more vulnerable to ecological and environmental changes.
Namibia supports perhaps 50% or more of the world’s cheetahs. Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), an international research organization in Namibia, has worked the past 25 years developing predator friendly livestock and game management strategies. Ongoing long-term research runs alongside the day-to-day work of a 100,000-acre model farm. Working on nearly 1000 wild cheetahs, CCF’s biological research monitors the genetics of this population, contributing to knowledge on species health while genome resource banking conducted in CCF’s veterinary clinic and genetics laboratory include sperm banking of male cheetahs and the use of detection dogs to find cheetah scat in the wild used for DNA analysis of the population. Studies on cheetah ecology includes long-term radio-telemetry and satellite collar studies showing home ranges of over 800 miles sq., the largest home ranges of any land mammal, and camera trap studies show densities of 2-12 cheetahs per 500 miles sq., and diet analysis has shown preference to wildlife over livestock. CCF’s research is baseline for developing conservation strategies for the long-term survival of the cheetah. CCF breeds and places livestock guarding dogs which protect small stock while the development of integrated livestock and wildlife strategies are called conservancies. CCF has provided training to over 350,000 school learners, and in its Future Farmers of Africa program, over 4000 rural farmers have been trained along with providing alternative livelihood opportunities and habitat restoration, and over 500 scientists from other cheetah range countries. Farmers have become increasingly tolerant towards cheetahs on their lands. Model programs pioneered by CCF are applied now in Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Sudan, Algeria and Iran.
Host: Guy Oliver
"Hamilton 2,0: How Phenotypic Variation affects Life History Evolution"
We have a decent theory -- developed in the last decade -- for the demography and evolution of phenotypically variation in populations. But this theory has been difficult to apply to evolutionary questions. I show how we extend Hamilton's classic results (for just age) to phenotype-and-age structure, and also stochastic environments. I discuss several applications to mammals, and open challenges.
Host: Steve Munch
"How to do mammal conservation science, implement it, and not die trying"
Host: Winifred Frick
"Acoustic ecology of distant early warning systems: How birds and mammals share information about predators"
Many animals produce alarm calls in response to detecting a predator. These alarm calls can encode lots of information, such as the threat level and the type and behavior of the predator. It is also becoming clear that many species listen to the alarm calls of other species. These complex communication networks result in distant early warning systems, in which information about predators can travel surprisingly far and fast. We are studying these phenomena in nature with robotic raptors and arrays of sensitive microphones.
Host: Bruce Lyon
No Seminar - Veterans Day Holiday
"A Tale of Two Extinctions"
Host: Grant Pogson
No Seminar - Thanksgiving Week
"Spring, Bite, and Stab: Whatever it takes to survive"
Host: Terrie Williams