Institute of Advanced Studies

A public lecture by Tim Seastedt


Conservation and Restoration in the Anthropocene

A public lecture by Tim Seastedt, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Fellow, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado

Tim SeastedtConservationists are faced with managing for environmental changes they cannot control. Ecosystems now experience longer growing seasons and altered seasonality and amounts of precipitation. The plant communities are exposed to increased carbon dioxide and plant-available nutrients that differentially affect competitive interactions within the plant community.  ‘Extreme events’ such as fire and floods, which historically have been factors for natural ecosystem renewal, now can function as transformative events. These environmental drivers are acting upon both native and introduced species, with the latter group having the potential to act as ‘wild cards’ in terms of community assembly and reorganization.  This talk presented a number of case studies from North America and suggested approaches that may mitigate some of the daunting challenges to preserving biodiversity in an era of rapid environmental change.

Tim Seastedt is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Fellow, Institute of  Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder USA. His research has exploited his association with the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program that was initiated in 1980. Since the early 1990s his studies have involved documenting the causes and consequences of biotic changes in communities along a glacier to grassland gradient found along the Colorado Front Range.

His work on the relationships between plants, soil animals, and soil nutrients led him to write about ‘adventive ecosystems’ in 2005.  By 2008, this topic had been formalized under the concept of ‘novel ecosystems’, and his current interests involve relating how ecosystem stewardship and forward-looking restoration activities can succeed under rapidly changing environmental conditions.

He is a 2014 IAS Short-Stay Visiting Fellow.

7 October 2014