Jennifer Dunne, ecologist
The Santa Fe Institute (SFI) holds two lectures, “The Web of Life and the Ecological Human” at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 15-16 at the James A. Little Theater (1060 Cerrilos Road).
Life has a hidden order. In two lectures over two nights, ecologist Jennifer Dunne will reveal surprising characteristics shared by ecosystems in radically different environments, comprising different species, and in different time periods.
By highlighting patterns in the architecture of how species, including humans, interact, she reveals new ways to understand the sustainability of ecosystems past, present, and future.
Lecture 1 ― “The Hidden Order of Complex Ecosystems” ― 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 ― at James A. Little Theater, 1060 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Dunne shares surprising findings from her research on food webs, the networks of who eats whom in nature. After revealing hidden ecological order, she explores the underlying forces that constrain and organize ecosystems across hundreds of millions of years, from the explosion of biodiversity in the deep-time Cambrian period, long before the dinosaurs, to the deteriorating condition of ecosystems in the present day.
She then describes characteristics that can fortify ecosystems against species loss and environmental change.
Lecture 2 ― “The Ecological Human” ― 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 ― at James A. Little Theater, 1060 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Traditionally, most ecological research has studied ecosystems as separate from humans. In her second lecture, Dunne shows how humans fit into and impact ecosystems through their myriad interactions with other species.
She then explores how the science of ecological networks can help meet the pressing need to understand the roles of humans in ecosystems, particularly in terms of resource use and consumption.
With examples from pre-industrial hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies, she will explore potential lessons for modern humans in fostering a more sustainable future.
Jennifer Dunne is the Vice President for Science at the Santa Fe Institute. Her research interests are in analysis, modeling, and theory related to the organization, dynamics, and stability of ecosystems that include humans.
For a complete listing of upcoming SFI Community Lectures, visit here.
Lectures are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To watch this lecture as it happens, visit SFI’s YouTube page; participate in the discussion live on Twitter at @SFILive.