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Summer Lecture Series Full Itinerary

Public Invited to Free Summer Lecture Series at U-M Biological Station

The free, public talks in 2024 are on Wednesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. at the University of Michigan Biological Station on Douglas Lake, located at 9133 Biological Rd. in Pellston. 

  • May 29: Bennett Lecture in Mycology and Plant Biology. Dr. Tadashi Fukami, a professor of biology and Earth system science at Stanford University, is an ecologist known for exploring complex plant and animal communities with small-scale experiments. At Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in California, he studies the interactions between sticky monkey flowers, the hummingbirds and insects that pollinate them, and the colonies of microbes that live in the nectar of these flowers. Fukami’s talk at UMBS is titled “Alternative Community States in Floral Microbes.” Learn about his lab on the Stanford University website.
  • June 5: “Michigan Botanists Brave the Grand Canyon.” Melissa Sevigny is a science journalist at KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) and author of the book “Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon”. The book features the grand adventures of Drs. Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter, two pioneering U-M botanists who frequented the U-M Biological Station throughout their careers. The two trailblazing women in science took a historic boat trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1938 to record the plants that lived along what was then the most dangerous river in the world. Learn more about Sevigny on her website.
  • June 12: “Environmental Mercury Toxicity: Lessons From History, Hair, Microbes and Flies." Dr. Matthew Rand is an ecotoxicologist who studies mercury toxicity, specifically methyl mercury found in fish and how it impacts the nervous system. The associate professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has done innovative work regarding environmental mercury toxicity and the developmental effects of mercury exposure on animals. Using fruit flies as a model, Rand’s lab recently discovered that the developing muscular system is a sensitive target to methyl mercury along with the nervous system. Read about Rand’s lab on the University of Rochester Medical Center website.
  • June 19: "Art and Ecology: The Intersection of Field Exploration and Creative Practice." Vera Ting, an illustrator and fine artist with a background in avian biology and ecology, is an Artist in Residence at UMBS this year. The U-M and UMBS alumna was part of a research team at UMBS in 2021 studying avian brain activity during spring migration. Most recently at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, she uses art and storytelling to explore the delicate balance between ecological communities and the impermanence of living things.
  • June 26: Bennett Lecture in Mycology and Plant Biology. Dr. Kerri Crawford, an associate professor of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston, will give a talk titled “Plant-Microbe Interactions in a Changing World.” Her research focuses on understanding the consequences of global changes for ecological communities with a particular emphasis on the role plant-microbe interactions play in structuring plant communities. Read Crawford’s bio on the University of Houston website.
  • July 3: "Queer Clearings: Gender, Nature, Poetry." Dr. Madeleine Wattenberg, an award-winning poet and assistant professor of writing at Lakeland University, is an Artist in Residence at UMBS this year and the author of “I/O” from University of Arkansas Press. Her poetry has appeared in journals including the Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Rumpus, sixth finch, Fairy Tale Review, Mid-American Review, Guernica, Best New Poets, and Poetry Daily. Her scholarship focuses on ecopoetics, queer ecocriticism and feminist poetics.
  • July 10: “What the Animacy Distinction (Grammatical Gender) May or May Not Reveal about Nishnaabe Worldview.” Dr. Cherry Meyer, an assistant professor of American culture and linguistics at the University of Michigan, is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Indians and a linguist working with the Ojibwe language. Her research interests include language documentation and revitalization, semantics, morphology, noun categorization, grammatical gender and classifiers. Read Meyer’s bio on the University of Michigan website.
  • July 17: “Ancestry, Genetics, Geography and You.” Dr. Gideon Bradburd, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, studies the geography of evolution: reconstructing how and where evolutionary events happened, as well as studying how evolutionary processes are affected by geography. He and his lab develop computational and statistical methods for learning about the fundamental forces generating and maintaining those spatial patterns of genetic variation.
  • July 24: Pettingill Endowed Lecture in Natural History. Dr. Matt McCary is an assistant professor of BioSciences at Rice University. McCary studies the relationship between soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning within the context of global change. His multidisciplinary research program includes observational and experimental studies, mathematical and statistical modeling, and molecular techniques. The questions he investigates involve invasive species and urbanization. UMBS Talk Title: "Aquatic Insects Transform Terrestrial Ecosystems: Lessons From Subarctic Iceland." Read his bio on the Rice University website.
  • July 31: Hann Endowed Lecture in Ornithology. Dr. Noah Whiteman is a professor of integrative biology and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Essig Museum of Entomology. He studies the ancient battles in Darwin’s “war of nature,” where many of the chemicals we use and abuse were made. The evolutionary biologist is the author of the book “Most Delicious Poison: The Story of Nature's Toxins — from Spices to Vices”. His UMBS talk is titled “How the Early Bird Catches the Worm: Co-evolution Between Migratory Behavior and Beak Morphology in Hummingbird.”