2016 Scientist Lecture Series

Delve deeper into the issues and conditions that impact the world around us. These free academic lectures allow you to step back into the classroom and learn from the experts.


Each lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. All programs are held at 7pm at the Warren H. Corning Visitor Center.


Of roots and wings: ancestry and growth environment influence root morphology in genus Rhododendron with implications for ecological interactions in a changing world.

Thursday, Nov. 12 – Juliana Medeiros, Holden scientist

Rhododendrons are a popular garden plant, but did you know that there are more than 900 species in the genus, which spans habitats from tropical forest to arctic tundra? This makes it a powerful system for understanding the evolution of plant adaptations to novel climates. Medeiros will explore recent discoveries made at Holden about the secrets of Rhododendron roots: their surprising diversity, the strong similarities between closely related species, and differences among lineages in their ability to acclimate to diverse soil conditions. She will also discuss the implications of these patterns for belowground interactions with soil pathogens and mutualists under current and future climate conditions.




Elephants and their effects on vegetation.

Thursday, Jan. 21 – David Ward, professor of biological sciences at Kent State University

Ward’s talk will focus on the research he has been conducting on the effects of African elephants on savanna vegetation in eastern South Africa. There is a worldwide ban on elephant hunting because of the severe negative effects on elephant populations, which are killed for the ivory in their tusks. This problem is particularly severe in eastern Africa. In South Africa, which manages its elephants relatively well, this has caused huge negative impacts on the vegetation due to the high population densities of elephants in conservation areas.  



Putting the world in a blender: the spread of invasive species and how it makes the world more similar

Thursday, Feb. 18 – Emily Rauschert, assistant professor of biology at Cleveland State University

Invasive species have been arriving and spreading more rapidly as human global movement has increased. We will examine how the process has unfolded for a new invasive grass, Japanese stiltgrass, which interferes with forest regeneration. We will also discuss how the many invasions currently unfolding are major contributors to biotic homogenization, an increase in the similarity of biological communities observed worldwide.



Coming this Spring

Friday, April 29 – Join us for our special Arbor Day lecture, featuring Meg Lowman, chief of science and sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. Lowman is internationally known for her tree canopy research and is the author of Life in the Treetops.


Thursday, May 19 – Allison Dealton Oakes, research assistant at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry


Thursday, July 14 – Jeff Diez, assistant professor of Plant Ecology at the University of California - Riverside.