Evolution Through an Ecologist’s Eyes:
Niches, Gene Pools, Continuum Theory and Other Non-Traditional Ways of Viewing Evolution
Speaker: Dr. Dick Wilson, Rockhurst University, retired
Date: December 9, 2014
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.
Traditionally evolution is presented in terms of Darwin’s basic postulates. In the classroom there is rarely time to push these ideas beyond those basics. In this Science Café we will look at evolution the way an ecologist is able to see it. Basic niche theory when dissected brings out the clear reasonableness of species evolving naturally. Collectively we will look at why do the tropics have the largest biodiversity. What is the real value of maintaining the biodiversity? What do gene pools tell us about evolution? Does a phenomena such as Continuum Theory give us another example of evolution? Ecologists have lots of ways they demonstrate evolution that rarely get their time in the chaos of the evolution debate and men and apes. We’ll spend some time looking at some of these examples, and will encourage the audience to expand their thinking and offer ideas of their own .
Richard “Dick” Wilson received his PhD from Cornell University in Ecology and Systematics. His original research was on the effect of acid rain fall on natural populations of Salamanders, which was only the second research project published on animals (the first was a year earlier on trout). Throughout his entire career all his research interests were centered on how organisms are able to respond to environmental change, including extremes of temperature, acclimation to environmental conditions, and critical measurements of tolerance in organism. As a Professor at Rockhurst University for 34 years, he taught Ecology, Evolution, and Animal Behavior among other courses.
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