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ONLINE LECTURE: The Sixth (Modern) Mass Extinction: A Geologic Perspective

April 29, 7:00 pm

This program will be a virtual lecture. See below for information on how to access the free online presentation. 


Register for the Free Online Presentation


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 virtual lecture

The online presentation will stream live on March 19 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Access to the virtual lecture is free. You can watch the online broadcast via two formats:

2. Register for e-tickets via Eventbright and a link to the lecture will be included in your email confirmation and with your e-ticket.


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




April 29
7:00 pm
Event Category:


Eric Ward


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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