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Museum hosts lecture on cultural evolution & environmental ethics

RALEIGH -- The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh presents a free lecture by Paul Ehrlich, President of the Center for Conservation Biology and Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. The free talk, titled "The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment," explores what we can do to change our current trajectory toward increased climate change. Ehrlich is co-author (along with his wife Anne) of a soon to be published book with the same title.

Co-founder of the field of “co-evolution,” Ehrlich has been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation, and in raising issues of population, resources and the environment as matters of public policy. His group’s policy research on the population-resource-environment crisis takes a broad overview of the world situation, but also works intensively in such areas of immediate legislative interests as endangered species and the preservation of genetic resources.

Ehrlich has also pursued long-term studies of the structure, dynamics and genetics of natural butterfly populations. His research group studies the dynamics and genetics of natural populations of checkerspot butterflies (Euphydryas). This research has applications to such problems as the control of insect pests and optimum designs for nature reserves. A central focus of his group is investigating ways that human-disturbed landscapes can be made more hospitable to biodiversity. This work in “countryside biogeography” is under the direction of Dr. Gretchen Daily, founder of the field.

Professor Ehrlich is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Ehrlich has received several honorary degrees, the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club, the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (given in lieu of a Nobel Prize in areas where the Nobel is not given).

Dr. Erhlich's talk is made possible by W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology and the Triangle Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology.

For more information, contact Katey Ahmann at 919-733-7450 x531.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications, and educational programming. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 am to 5 pm, and Sun., noon to 5 pm. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the Web at naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, William G. Ross Jr., Secretary.