A pioneering UT biologist will highlight regional invasive species and their ecological impact during a talk at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.
Dan Simberloff, one of the world’s leading experts on invasive species, will give a presentation titled “Zebra Mussels, Zika, Kudzu, and More: Winning the War Against the Aliens Among Us” in the auditorium of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. It is free and open to the public.
A 6:00 p.m. reception will be held before the presentation.
Simberloff will discuss current efforts to stem the spread of local and regional invasive species and describe ways the public can join the fight. He will be introduced by Susan Kalisz, another prominent invasion biologist at UT. Kalisz studies how overabundant deer populations encourage invasive species by preferentially eating native species over introduced weeds.
“The first line of defense is an informed and mobilized public,” Simberloff said. “Many invasions that would have been horrendous have been controlled or even prevented by citizens acting quickly and decisively.”
The event is being held as part of National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Other local activities include the first annual Knoxville Weed Wrangle on Saturday, March 5, a community event aimed at ridding Knoxville parks of invasive plants.
Simberloff is the Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His body of work includes more than 500 peer-reviewed papers as well as popular articles and book reviews.
Simberloff is a groundbreaking ecologist who has never been afraid to challenge the status quo. His work is featured in most undergraduate ecology textbooks as a pivotal moment in the creation of modern ecology.
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