Ashland University lectures on butterflies are free


ASHLAND — Ashland University’s 27th annual Environmental Lecture Series features the theme of “Ohio Citizen Science” and the spring semester events will kick off Thursday, Jan. 24, with a presentation by Dr. Sarah Diamond, George B. Mayer Chair in Urban and Environmental Studies and assistant professor of biology at Case Western Reserve University.

The series focuses on science projects that include work by trained volunteers in Ohio.

Diamond will speak on the topic, “How humans redistribute butterflies in space and time: surprises and novel insights from long-term citizen science monitoring” at the 7:30 p.m. event on Jan. 24 in Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education. All events in the series are free and open to the public.

Diamond will explore the findings from long-term citizen science monitoring of butterflies by the Ohio Lepidopterists’ to understand how climate warming alters seasonal activity and geographic range and distribution of butterflies across the state of Ohio.

In 2018, Diamond was elected an Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America for “far-reaching contributions in the areas of urban ecology, climate change impacts, and introduced species.” Diamond’s research is focused on understanding and predicting biological responses to novel environments. How do organisms cope (or fail to cope) with environmental novelty and global change? Members of Diamond’s lab use a combination of field and laboratory based experiments and statistical modeling to learn about how organisms like ants and butterflies respond to new environments. Diamond earned her B.S. at Bucknell University and her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She joined the biology faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 2014.

According to Dr. Patricia Saunders, AU associate professor of biology and director of the environmental science program, the “overall goal of the series is to explore citizen science projects that are active in Ohio. Why are volunteers needed and what can we learn from these large-scale projects? How does information about the distributions of species distributions, for example, help us learn more about local and regional environmental issues?”

Other spring events in the series will include:

On March 21, MaLisa Spring, state coordinator for the Ohio Dragonfly Survey, Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, is speaking on the topic of “Ohio Citizens and Dragons: Documenting threatened species with iNaturalist.” Join MaLisa Spring to learn more about dragonflies and damselflies in Ohio. Ohio is home to some 170 species of dragonflies and damselflies, with 23 listed as state threatened or endangered. These ferocious aerial acrobats are important for managing insect populations and can serve as indicator species. Learn how you can help these winged predators by documenting them in your own backyard and land management strategies to support your own dragons!

The Environmental Lecture Series was established at Ashland University after the Environmental Science program was implemented in 1991-92. The lecture series was designed to support the Environmental Science program by allowing students, faculty and members of North Central Ohio communities to interact with leaders in environmental science and policy. Over the years, the lecture series has generated significant campus and community involvement and support. Recent lectures are archived for viewing on this webpage.

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Staff report