The resilience of our planet and the future of humanity rely on biodiversity. After all, biodiversity is the reason why we have air, food, water and medicines. But biodiversity is vulnerable, and in many cases in crisis around the world.
In this series of talks presented by York University’s Faculty of Science in partnership with Ontario Nature and the Toronto Public Library, we consider biodiversity in Canada and abroad and explore what is being done to understand and conserve the fascinating animals that have the current attention of researchers.
The Beauty and Importance of Bees
Thursday October 4 at 7-8 PM, at Don Mills branch
There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world and over 800 species in Canada. Most of them are nothing like the domesticated honey bee. Professor Laurence Packer (Faculty of Science) will outline the enormous diversity of bees and the important role that wild bees play in agricultural and wild habitats.
Let’s Talk Primates: Conflict and Conservation
Wednesday October 17 at 7-8 pm, at Toronto Reference Library
Biodiversity is increasingly threatened as large areas of tropical forest are lost or modified to accommodate a growing human population. Most primates live in the tropics and are especially vulnerable. Professor Valerie Schoof (Glendon College) discusses why primate conservation is important to maintaining overall biodiversity and the value of understanding how factors like primate behaviour, habitat requirements, human-wildlife conflict, and the needs of local human populations interact when developing effective management strategies.
Life on the Edge: Polar Bears in a Warming Arctic
Thursday October 18 at 7-8 pm, at Brentwood branch
Climate warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic than the rest of the planet. Polar bears, among other species, have already been negatively affected by climate warming and mounting evidence suggests the worst is yet to come. Professor Gregory Thiemann (Faculty of Environmental Studies) discusses the current and future status of polar bears and examines why the conservation of these charismatic carnivores has become a hot-button issue.
Bringing Back the Birds
Tuesday October 23 at 6-7 pm, at Lillian H. Smith branch
Canada’s north is home to a songbird nursery of billions of migratory birds who undergo a spectacular annual migration to warmer latitude to escape winter. Decades of monitoring have shown steep declines in many species but new technology and research suggests it is not too late to fix the problem. Professor Bridget Stutchbury (Faculty of Science) reviews the many causes of songbird declines and what you can do to help.
Bad Reputations: Cormorants and Conservation
Saturday October 27 at 2-3 pm, at Deer Park branch
Since their rapid population recovery in the Great Lakes, double-crested cormorants have developed a bad reputation because they are large black waterbirds that eat fish, and their nesting habits kill trees. Professor Gail Fraser (Faculty of Environmental Studies) describes the role of cormorants in the Great Lakes ecosystems and how cormorant ecology relates to biodiversity conservation.