We invite ecologists from around the world to speak each year year. In the fall, we highlight the work of a GDPE alum and  a faculty member, and in the spring we bring in outside speakers. We define “distinguished” broadly as someone who has contributed important work to the discipline of ecology. 2020-2021 speakers are shown below.

Sally Aiken

Sally Aiken

November 17th & 18th, 2021

Title TBA; Forest genetics, adaptation and response to climate change

Sally Aitken is a Professor at the University of British Columbia leading a lab group that seeks to understand the population genetic structure of temperate and boreal trees, and the evolutionary dynamics that have resulted in that structure. We are particularly interested in the extent of local adaptation to climate in tree populations, the phenotypic traits and genes involved in local adaptation, and the capacity of those populations to adapt to new climates.

Molly Cavaleri

Molly Cavaleri

December 8th, 2021

From roots to treetops: How tropical plants respond to warming and hurricane disturbance in the Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment

Molly Cavaleri is a forest ecophysiologist with expertise in tree canopy structure and function and the cycling of carbon and water through forests. She also investigates plant thermoregulation and how temperate and tropical species acclimate to a warming world. Within the Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment (TRACE), she leads the effort to explore the effects of warming and hurricane disturbance on tropical plant physiological processes like plant respiration and photosynthesis.

Scott Denning

Scott Denning

February 2nd, 2022

Where Has All the Carbon Gone?

Scott Denning leads a research group in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science studying interactions among terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere with a focus on carbon sequestration. As a kid he wanted to be an astronomer, but the University of Maine had no such major. He became a geologist instead and worked briefly in the oil industry after college. In the 1980s he worked for Jill Baron, collecting samples in Loch Vale Watershed 200 Tuesdays in a row before quitting to go to grad school. He earned a PhD in atmospheric science in 1994 and became an Assistant Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara in 1996, then returned to CSU in 1998 to join the faculty. His group studies the fate of CO2 using satellites, aircraft, & models in the north woods of Wisconsin, the farms of Iowa, and the Amazon rainforest.

Andrea Grover

Andrea Grover

March 23rd, 2022

Cultivating Climate Resilience with Citizen Science and The Secret Life of Observational Data: Searching for Signs of Citizen Science Volunteer Skills

Andrea Grover (formerly Wiggins) is an Associate Professor of Information Systems and Quantitative Analysis in the College of Information Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her research highlights the design, management, and technology configurations supporting diverse stakeholders in citizen science to inform the development of systems and policies for public participation in science. Dr. Grover serves as an advisor to citizen science initiatives around the globe in disciplines ranging from astrophysics to social sciences and is a member of the editorial board of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. She publishes across multiple disciplines, primarily in computing and ecology. Her recent work focuses on evaluating individual and collective performance and productivity in open collaboration, with current studies on embedded assessment of volunteer skills using secondary analysis and a cybersecurity citizen science project.

Alonso Ramirez

Alonso Ramírez

April 13th and 14th, 2022

Extreme climatic events and tropical streams in Puerto Rico - the impact of droughts and hurricanes

Alonso Ramirez is a Professor at the Dept. of Applied Ecology, NCSU. His research is focused on the ecology of tropical and urban streams and aquatic macroinvertebrates; with emphasis on the importance of conducting long-term studies to understand those systems. His laboratory has three main research goals, to: (1) Understand the dynamics of tropical streams in the context of climate change, in particular assessing the impact that a changing climate has on ecosystems processes and aquatic biota. (2) Understand the dynamics of urban streams, in particular in the tropics, and assess how urbanization is affecting aquatic biota and the ecological processes in which they participate. (3) Assess the value of riparian zones in protecting stream ecosystem function and biodiversity, this aim is focused on tropical cloud forest streams in Mexico. Dr. Ramirez obtained his undergraduate degree from the National University of Costa Rica, his masters and doctoral degrees are from the University of Georgia. After working for many years at the University of Puerto Rico, as a professor, he moved to NCSU in 2018 to continue his research on tropical stream ecosystems and their biota.

Peter Reich

Peter Reich

April 27th and 28th, 2022

Titles TBA; Community dynamics, ecosystem structure and function, climate change/

Peter Reich’s work is multi-faceted and touches upon various aspects of terrestrial ecology, attempting to link fundamental physiology with community dynamics and ecosystem structure and function, within the context of the myriad of global environmental challenges that face us. This includes studying the effects on ecosystems of rising CO 2 and associated climate change, biodiversity loss, and wildfire. This research involves a variety of tools and approaches (experiments, observations, models), a diverse set of ecosystems (boreal forest, temperate grassland, and more), and a range of scales (local, regional, global). Peter is Regents Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, F.B. Hubachek, Sr. Chair in Forest Ecology and Tree Physiology at University of Minnesota.