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Livestream Lecture: The Sixth (Modern) Mass Extinction – A Geologic Perspective

April 29, 2020, 7:00 pm

The Program:

Earth is currently experiencing an accelerating biodiversity crisis that could rival past mass extinctions in terms of rate, magnitude, and selectivity. What lessons does the fossil record offer for how ecosystems will respond to massive loss of biodiversity? In this talk, I compare the intensity and ecological selectivity of past mass extinction events to the current biodiversity crisis. Both on land and in the ocean, the strongly selective removal of large-bodied animals across many taxonomic groups is unique to the current diversity crisis and appears to be a signature of human influence on the biosphere. The geologic record provides many past examples of climate warming, ocean acidification, and sea level change that can help to inform projections of future environmental conditions. However, it does not contain a biodiversity crisis with a similar pattern of extinction, adding to the challenge of forecasting future ecosystem function.

The Speaker:

Dr. Jonathan Payne is Professor and Chair of Geological Sciences at Stanford University. He also holds a courtesy appointment in Biology, is a Member of Stanford’s interdisciplinary biosciences institute Bio-X, and is an Affiliate of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. His research addresses the relationship between environmental change and biological evolution in the fossil record, with a focus on mass extinction events and long-term trends in the ecological structure of marine ecosystems. Dr. Payne received a BA in geosciences from Williams College and a PhD in Earth and planetary sciences from Harvard University.


Accessing the Program:

This free, online livestream lecture will take place on April 29 at 7:00 PM CDT via Zoom. To help us better serve our audiences, we have included some demographic questions in the registration form. Your response to these questions is voluntary but appreciated.  Thank you! 

Click here to register

Registration is currently open and will remain open until the event has ended. If you register in advance, you will receive an email with a link to join the session when it begin, or you may register and enter the program directly when you are ready to begin.

Once you register for this event, you will receive email communications from the Linda Hall Library and the Linda Hall Library Foundation. You may choose to opt out of these communications at any time. Your contact information will not be sold or provided to any third parties.

The lecture will live stream on the Library’s Facebook page.

Further reading at the Linda Hall Library



April 29, 2020
7:00 pm
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Eric Ward
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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