Biodiversity in the Sixth Mass Extinction

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 (3PM), Belmont Media Center (Zoom)

Michael Reed, Ph.D., Professor of Biology; and Adjunct Professor, Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health, Tufts University

The sixth mass extinction currently underway is due to a combination of climate change and destruction of natural habitats. Both crises are the result of our energy, industrial, and food production systems that have upended Nature. Biologist Michael Reed explains how the vitality of our planet depends on the health of ecosystems. Using migratory birds as an example, he describes the interdependence of different forms of life --- birds, animals, fish, insects, plants --and terrain. Dr. Reed also suggests why some species are better able to adapt to the climate and extinction crises than others. Worldwide action is urgently needed.

Michael Reed's research has focused on a variety of conservation problems, but especially the characteristics of species that put them at risk from human-caused threats. Regarding extinction, he is particularly interested in the effects of habitat loss on species survival. Habitat threats include the impact of large-scale grazing, logging, and suburban sprawl.

Dr. Reed has served on the Board of Directors for the Society for Conservation Biology, North American Region. He has also served on the Science Advisory Committee for the environmental NGO MassAudubon.He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and has served on the Science Advisory Committee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Office for the Mojave Desert Tortoise. Dr. Reed was President of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, the oldest science-based ornithological society in U.S. (through 2021).