Thursday, January 17 2019
Room 1005, Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
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Jasmine Martin

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Predicting Effects of Anthropocene Defaunation on Ecosystem Function

Hillary Young, Ph.D.
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
University of California, Santa Barbara

While we often think of the decline of wild animal life on our planet as merely a tragic consequence of other forms of global change, this defaunation is in fact a driver of global change in its own right, with cascading effects to ecosystem function. Here, I characterize the current Anthropocene defaunation event and, using a case study on zoonotic disease, explore how defaunation affects ecosystem function.  Specifically I ask how we can understand the variability in these responses across environmental contexts in order to better predict and interrupt the negative functional consequences of this modern pulse of defaunation.

Hillary Young is a community ecologist in the department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Young received a B.A. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. She then received an M.A. in Environmental Management at Yale University where she focused on applied forest management questions. Her PhD in Biology at Stanford University examined cascading effects of changes in plant communities on whole ecosystem and community structure. As a postdoctoral researcher jointly affiliated at Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University she examined the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on mammal communities and ultimately, on zoonotic diseases.

Host: Mark Hay, Ph.D.