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Understanding global phenomena is inherently complicated, and often lead to scientific controversy. A recent example is the ongoing debate about global insect decline: several high profile reviews have reduced vast, complicated literature to simplified patterns, quickly followed by other scientists pointing out flaws and nuances that render the latter’s claims untrue or unsupported. The reality is, they’re all right (or all wrong?): while we are undoubtably in a time of unprecedented biodiversity loss, actual patterns of insect species loss driven by anthropogenic change are idiosyncratic, and often data and analytical tools are collected and applied at inappropriate scales to capture meaningful patterns.
In this talk, Christie Bahlai, assistant professor of computational ecology at Kent State University, will examine some of the approaches that have been taken to understanding this phenomenon and explore some ways forward and new tools for understanding change and trajectory in populations.
Bahlai specializes in population ecology of insects in human-managed ecosystems. With her students, her lab examines the intersection of population ecology and information and data science, including examining how patterns vary when populations are captured using classical and ‘high tech’ methodologies, large-scale data integration from disparate sources and scales and developing new tools for analyzing spatio-temporal data.
She is also an associate scientist of the Kellogg Biological Station Long Term Ecological Research Site, where she did her postdoc, and also spent a year as a Mozilla Fellow. She completed a PhD in environmental biology and a BSc in physics at the University of Guelph.
Her presentation is part of College of Integrative Sciences and Arts' Science and Mathematics Colloquium series, organized by faculty at ASU Polytechnic campus.