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About the Symposium

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is presenting a symposium to celebrate 200 years of scientific research at the Academy on October 11 and 12, 2012. Building on the Academy’s research strengths in systematics and ecology, this symposium will explore current and future research on the diversity of life with a focus on evolutionary biology, ecology, and environmental quality.

Describing and recording the world’s biodiversity and determining its evolutionary history and ecology is a continual process that is far from complete. Symposium speakers will discuss new and innovative uses of museum collections to acquire more knowledge. They also will describe new approaches for determining the evolutionary origins and relationships of diverse groups of organisms. These approaches include recent developments in phylogenetic reconstruction, computer programming, evolutionary genetics, and reproductive biology.

The interactions among organisms and their environments along, with their impacts on environmental quality, are of considerable interest to ecologists today. Speaker presentations will address the relationship between the diversity of aquatic organisms and ecosystem functioning. Methods to survey organisms and define their ecological parameters in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be presented along with ways to assess, enhance, and preserve the environmental quality of these ecosystems. Speakers will consider the need for conservation, restoration, and policy development to assure environmental and social sustainability in a changing world.

The Academy is internationally recognized for its research in systematics and ecology. Our priceless collections vouch for our research strength in systematics and continue to increase our knowledge in new and innovative ways. Our staff continues to explore many parts of the world to discover, describe, and classify organisms in an evolutionary framework. The pioneering research in limnology by Ruth Patrick brought the Academy to the forefront of ecology and, our current research staff continues to build on her foundational research with a variety of ecological approaches.

Planning Committee

Dr. Ted Daeschler, Vice President of Systematics and Library
George W. Gephart, Jr., President and CEO
Dr. Mark L. Greenberg, Provost, Drexel University
Dr. Richard J. Horwitz, Senior Scientist, Section Leader, Ruth Patrick Chair in Environmental Science
Dr. Katriina Ilves, Chaplin Postdoctoral Scientist, Ichthyology
Dr. John Lundberg, Curator, Chaplin Chair of Ichthyology
Dr. Donna M. Murasko, Professor, Biology and Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University
Robert M. Peck, Curator of Art and Artifacts and Senior Fellow
Dr. Gary Rosenberg, Curator, Pilsbry Chair of Malacology
Dr. Alfred E. Schuyler, Curator Emeritus, Botany
Dr. David Velinsky, Vice President of the Patrick Center for Environmental Research
Roland Wall, Director of the Center for Environmental Policy

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