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Bernd Blossey

Assistant Professor of Biology

Associate Professor of Natural Resources

Cornell University

Eco-evolutionary games: how invasive plants, earthworms and deer are reshaping our neighborhoods

Cosponsored with the Center for Integrated Watershed Studies

October 6th, 2014

Academic Building A G008, 5:10 PM

Abstract

The biota and health of the Finger Lakes region are threatened by climate change, energy development and spread of invasive species.  In addition, large populations of white-tailed deer continue to transform even protected areas in parks and preserves into ecological disaster zones.  I will review recent work in my lab that has uncovered surprising ecological connections between deer, invasive plants and invasive earthworms.  These transformations of landscapes happens right in front of our eyes, yet their consequence for eco-evolutionary interactions and the life history of many native species remain poorly understood.  How species respond to these biotic stressors will have dramatic consequences for their ability to respond to climate change, habitat fragmentation or any other biotic or abiotic stressors.

Biography

Bernd was born and raised in northern Germany. He went to school at Kiel University, initially interested in a degree in marine biology. Bernd then became fascinated by insects; followed by birds, plants and mammals and it became clear to him that he was an ecologist with wide ranging interests. After spending a summer internship at the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control in Switzerland in the mid 1980’s, he started his Masters work, which developed into a PhD, studying the insect communities on purple loosestrife. This study was motivated by the interest of potentially using insects from the native range of purple loosestrife as biological control agents. In 1992, Bernd moved to Cornell University, initially as a post-doc and Research Associate and he is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources.

 

Bernd directs the Ecology and Management of Invasive Plants Program at Cornell University. Bernd continues to develop and implement biological weed control programs. Among his target plants are purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, and invasive Phragmites. An ever increasing focus of his team are investigations into impacts of multiple “stressors” including of invasive and native plants, earthworms, slugs and deer on a wide range of native organisms.  He is intimately involved in different approaches to deer management at Cornell and in the surrounding municipalities, he has developed a network or deer exclosures to study impact of deer on many species and processes, and is developing bioindicators to assess effects of different stressors, including deer.  The ultimate aim of this work is to increase the conservation values of all lands through development of best management practices.

 

Reading will be posted to the EvoS blackboard group. Anyone with a Binghamton University email address can request to be added to the blackboard group by emailing EvoS[at]binghamton[dot]edu.

 

This talk will NOT be recorded.


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