William K. Smith

October 23, 2019 – William K. Smith

4 pm Seminar, Reception to follow
Lory Student Center, Ballroom 350 A

Current trends in terrestrial carbon cycling: Insights from satellite remote sensing, field observations, and ecosystem process models

Bill Smith is a terrestrial ecosystem ecologist with a specialization in multi-scale remote sensing techniques. Bill received is MS in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University, his PhD in the Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group at the University of Montana, and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona. His lab’s research focuses on understanding the complex responses of the terrestrial biosphere to rising atmospheric CO2, climate, and land-use change across temporal and spatial scales through the integration of remote sensing observations, field network data, and ecosystem process models.


Rick Knight, Professor of Human Dimensions in Natural Resources, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, December 8, 2016

November 13, 2019 – Richard Knight

4 pm Seminar, Reception to follow
Lory Student Center, LSC North

Can Wildlife Biology Inform Conservation in an Era of Science Skepticism?

Richard Knight is interested in the intersection of land use and land health in the American West. A professor emeritus of wildlife conservation at Colorado State University, he received his graduate degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin. While at Wisconsin he was an Aldo Leopold Fellow and conducted his research at Aldo Leopold’s farm, living in “The Shack.”

Before becoming an academic he worked for the Washington Department of Game developing the nongame wildlife program. Presently, he sits on a number of boards including the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, where he is Vice-president of Conservation, the Science Board of the Malpai Borderlands Group, the Land Conservation Assistance Network and Rocky Mountain Land Library. For 16 years he sat on the Board of Editors for Conservation Biology and for 10 years on the Board of Editors for Ecological Applications.

He was selected by the Ecological Society of America for the first cohort of Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows which focus on leadership in the scientific community, communicating with the media, and interacting with the business and corporate sectors. He has published over 175 papers and book chapters and has co-authored or co-edited 10 books.

In 2007 Colorado State University honored him with the Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching award. He is a five-time recipient of the students’ choice for Outstanding Faculty Member in the Warner College of Natural Resources. In 2009 he was invited to speak to The Explorer’s Club in New York City, and in 2011 spoke to The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., both talks addressed human-land relationships.


Description: Professor Vanessa Ezenwa
Date of Photo: 8/28/2014
Credit: Peter Frey, University of Georgia
Photographic Services File: 31699-010

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April 8-9, 2020 –  Vanessa Ezenwa

4 pm Seminar (3:30 pm Mixer)
Lory Student Center – LSC North Ballroom

  • Worms, Germs, and Buffalo: a Coinfection Story
  • Social Living and Parasite Infection Revisited

Vanessa Ezenwa is a Professor at the University of Georgia, where she holds joint appointments in the Odum School of Ecology and College of Veterinary Medicine. She received a BA in Biology from Rice University and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. Vanessa’s research centers on the ecology of infectious diseases in wild animal populations, with a specific focus on linking processes across scales of biological organization. Work in the Ezenwa lab investigates how physiological, behavioral and ecological processes occurring at the individual level shape interactions between hosts and their parasites, and the consequences of these interactions for population- and community-wide patterns of disease. Her work combines longitudinal and experimental field studies with laboratory approaches and theory to address key questions about host-parasite interactions in natural systems. Insights from Vanessa’s research on the consequences of parasite coinfection and the links between social behavior and infection have important implications for how we manage infectious diseases in both animals and humans.


Rachel Winfree

April 22-23, 2020 – Rachel Winfree

4 pm Seminar (3:30 pm Mixer)
Lory Student Center – LSC North Ballroom

What can pollinators tell us about biodiversity and ecosystem services in real-world landscapes?

The goal of Rachael Winfree’s research program is to understand the role of biodiversity in ecosystem services in the real world – that is, in large-scale and unmanipulated systems. Her research group is developing a framework for thinking about this question that bridges the gap between smaller-scale experiments (and the associated theory), which ecologists understand well, to the more complicated reality of nature. Some of their current questions include: What is the most meaningful way to measure biodiversity in nature, and is the answer scale-dependent? Do we need to preserve biodiversity in order to maintain ecosystem services, or are only a few dominant species sufficient? What is the role of rare species in ecosystem services? Can we extend biodiversity-ecosystem function research to mutualist networks? Rachael is a Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers University, and is one of 184 scientists in the field of environment / ecology on the list of ‘the world’s most influential scientific minds,’ which is based on authorship of highly cited papers. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University in 2001 and her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1990.


Dr. Jonathan Losos - Head Shot

May 5-6, 2020 – Jonathan Losos

May 5  – 4 pm Seminar (3:30 pm Mixer)
Biology Building – BIO 136

May 6 – 4 pm Seminar (3:30 pm Mixer)
Lory Student Center – LSC North Ballroom

  • Using Experiments in Nature to Study Evolution in Real Time: Research on Lizard Adaptation in the Bahamas
  • Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree: Ecology and Adaptive Radiation of Anolis Lizards

Jonathan Losos is an evolutionary biologist known for his research on how lizards rapidly evolve to adapt to changing environments. He recently rejoined the Washington University Biology Department after spending 12 at Harvard University, returning in January as the inaugural holder of the William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professorship and Director of the Living Earth Collaborative, a partnership between Wash U., the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden. This new biodiversity center, nearly unique in partnering a leading university, zoo, and garden, has the mission of advancing knowledge of biodiversity to ensure the future of earth’s species in their many forms. Losos has written more than 240 papers, two books (most recently Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution), and is an author of a leading college biology textbook. Losos has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and many other awards.

Jonathan graduated from Harvard University in 1984 and received his PhD from the University of California in 1989. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at U.C., Davis, Jonathan came to Washington University for his first faculty position. While here, he served as the Director of the Tyson Research Center and the Environmental Studies program, before leaving in 2006 to become a professor of biology at Harvard and Curator in Herpetology at the university’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.