Evolution and Environmental Toxins

Science for the Public and Belmont Public Library
April 22, 2015 at Belmont Public Library, Belmont MA

Emily Monosson, Ph.D., Environmental Toxicologist; Author (see below); Adjunct Professor, Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Independent Scholar, Ronin Institute

All of life today is exposed to an unprecedented environmental challenge: the need to adapt quickly to countless toxins in air, water, soil. These toxins are the result of industry, industrial farming, mining, drilling, emissions, and many common products in modern life. Extinctions are becoming commonplace, and predicting the impact of hundreds of toxins on ecosystems and health is very difficult. But some organisms --notably certain bacteria, viruses, insects-- manage to adapt very well. Dr. Monosson considers the evolutionary advantages of some organisms compared to others in our toxic world. Her two popular books provide a wealth of information about how environmental toxins affect evolutionary mechanisms.
Unnatural Selection: How We Are Changing Life Gene by Gene
Evolution in a Toxic World: How Life Responds to Chemical Threats