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Evolution & Systematics
Nature-inspired solutions have spawned such products as potential cancer cures from animal and plants, novel antibiotics, and gecko-inspired adhesives. This “bio-inspired” approach applies integrative methods from anatomy, animal function, evolution, and biomechanics to inspire novel synthetic materials. Further, new methods for visualizing animals has opened new doors into understanding the diversity of life. This lecture will discuss how studies of gecko form and functions have contributed to a broader understanding of bio-inspiration.
The historical environments in which species evolved have lasting influence on the communities and ecosystems that provide services to humanity today. Dr. Cavender-Bares considers the unfolding of evolutionary history in the deep past, the role of diversification in community assembly, and its consequences for ecosystem function. Current threats to naturally assembled systems are transforming the biosphere to novel conditions, with consequences for the trade-offs we face in managing Planet Earth.