Distinguished Ecologist Seminars

We invite ecologists from around the world to speak each 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. Below you will find information about our upcoming seminars.

All seminars will take place at 4:00pm in Biology 136. A post-seminar reception will be held at 5:00pm in the Biology 3rd floor Atrium.

Spring 2023 Speakers

February 1st, 2023

“Ungrading, Cross-Disciplinarity, and Other Adventures in Teaching Animal Behavior”

Ambika Kamath Photo

Animal behavior is radical because it lives so close to the center of us. Understanding how other animals live their lives shows us the forces that shape what we do and who we can be. We see ourselves reflected in how animals behave and in how we think about animals behaving. Animal behavior is about action, connection, and context—all of the most complex things. In my lab, we seek to understand the lives of animals using field-based observations and measurement of animal behavior, ecology, and morphology, statistical modeling, and close interdisciplinary engagement with ideas from evolutionary theory, queer and feminist science and technology studies, political ecology, philosophy and more. 

March 22nd, 2023

“Ecological frontiers: looking back to look forward”

Emily Stanley is an American professor of limnology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She was named a 2018 Ecological Society of America Fellow and her research focuses on the ecology of freshwater ecosystems.

April 5th, 2023

“Between the lines: Redlining impacts wildlife, society, and the environment”


Dr. Chris Schell studies the intersections of society, ecology, and evolution to understand how wildlife (mainly mammalian carnivores) are rapidly adapting to life in cities. The work of the Schell lab combines behavioral, physiological, and genomic approaches to demonstrate the myriad consequences of historical and contemporary inequites on organismal, population, and community-level dynamics of wildlife. In addition, Dr. Schell and his lab leverage human dimensions and community-engaged data streams to decipher how wildlife adaptation and human perceptions create landscapes of risk that contribute to human-carnivore conflict. This interdisciplinary work requires integrating principles from the natural sciences with urban studies to address how systemic racism and oppression affect urban ecosystems, while simultaneously highlighting the need to environmental justice, civil rights, and equity as the bedrock of biological conservation and our fight against the climate crisis.

Fall 2022 Speakers

October 5th, 2022

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

Molly Cavaleri is a forest ecophysiologist at Michigan Technological University. She has 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.

November 2nd, 2022

“Long-term recovery of aquatic ecosystems following anthropogenic disturbance: the importance of regime shifts and novel communities”


Dr. William H. Clements is a Professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. Dr. Clements’ research interests focus primarily on community and ecosystem responses to contaminants. He is especially interested in questions that address interactions between contaminants and global climate change.  Current research in Dr. Clements’ laboratory is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (remediation effectiveness for mining sites); the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (quantitative assessment restoration effectiveness in the Arkansas River); the International Copper Association (the use of stream microcosms to quantify restoration effectiveness in metal-contaminated streams); and the U.G. Geological Survey (metal uptake and transfer in stream and riparian communities).

For past speakers see our Previous Speakers page.