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Public lecture at UC Riverside to highlight California's environment

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Conservation biologist Michael Allen will give a free, public lecture at the University of California, Riverside on May 6 titled "In the Crosshairs: California's Environment." The hour-long lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the University Theatre. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Seating is open.

In his talk, Allen, the director of the Center for Conservation Biology at UC Riverside, plans to discuss what the range of environmental issues in California are in response to global climate change, as well as some activities that Californians can undertake to help deal with this potential crisis.

"California is one of the global biodiversity hotspots," said Allen, a professor in and the chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. "Due to our diversity of climates and geology, we have the most interesting natural world of any region in the country. But, we are also at ground zero in how humans are transforming the globe -- both for the worse, because of the ever increasing population and development pressures, and for the better, because California has an incredibly innovative society that is technologically savvy and environmentally aware."

Allen's research aims at understanding the effects of human activities on ecosystem biodiversity and functioning. He is researching how to measure carbon balance in ecosystems, especially carbon sequestration in wildland ecosystems, the predominant global carbon mechanism. He also is working on measuring and modeling how ecosystems are likely to respond to climate change, from individual endangered species to wildland ecosystems.

Allen obtained his Ph.D. in botany from the University of Wyoming. He joined UCR's Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and the Department of Biology in 1998.

He is a recipient of a Chevron Conservation Award as well as a Mycological Society of American Graduate Fellowship. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He has co-authored more than 180 research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and three books. He has worked with the County of Riverside and Southern California regional agencies on multiple species habitat conservation planning efforts. He also has worked on interagency efforts to incorporate ecosystem management approaches into environmental decisions at the federal level.

He has served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation, and has participated in numerous advisory committees for agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation.

His talk is being hosted by UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Science Circle, a group of university and community members committed to advancing science at UCR and in Inland Southern California.

The talk is the third of five lectures scheduled this year. The lecture series, titled "Global Climate Change: Causes, Impacts, Solutions," aims to boost the public's awareness and understanding of climate change and of how science works.


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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