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on biodiverstiy part of international initiative
Barlow, Life Sciences editor
(217) 333-5802; firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The
complexity and diversity of life, from insects to trees to mollusks
to big cats and more, will be the topic of a four-day symposium for
scientists converging on the University of Illinois campus Feb. 7-10.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 with back-to-back public talks
by Geerat J. Vermeij, an evolutionary biologist and paleontologist at
the University of California at Davis, and Stephen J. O'Brien of the
National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md. Their talks and the symposium
will be held in B-102 Chemistry-Life Sciences Building, 601 S. Goodwin
Ave., Urbana. Advanced registration is requested but not required.
Vermeij is internationally known for his research on the ecology and
evolution of marine mollusks. He is the author of several books, including
"Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life,"
in which he lays out his view of the chronology of life during the last
600 million years. He detailed his own life as a blind scientist in
the book "Privileged Hands: A Scientific Life."
O'Brien, the chief of the NCI's Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, is
known widely for his contributions to gene mapping of many mammals,
including humans. Based on his groundbreaking studies of the African
cheetah, he is considered a pioneer in the application of genetics to
conservation biology. O'Brien also is noted for his discovery of the
first human gene to affect HIV-1 infection and the progression to AIDS.
Their talks kick off a series of more scientifically oriented lectures
Feb. 8 and 9 during the "New Frontiers in Biocomplexity and Biodiversity
Symposium" being sponsored by the Olga G. Nalbandov Endowment at
the UI. The endowment funds interdisciplinary symposia featuring noted
researchers in the biological and biochemical sciences.
Nalbandov received a doctorate in chemistry from the UI in 1946 and
was a research associate in the department of dairy science. Her husband,
Andrew V. Nalbandov, was an internationally known UI physiologist from
1940 until his retirement in 1977.
Symposium speakers include experts on data management, ecology, entomology,
genetics, plant biology, population biology, systematics, and other
fields from several institutions, including the Carnegie Institute of
Washington, D.C.; the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.;
Michigan State University; University of Arizona; University of British
Columbia; and the University of Chicago.
The event will adjourn on Feb. 9 in time to allow participants to attend
the 19th annual Insect Fear Film Festival on campus in the Foellinger
Auditorium. On Sunday morning, participants are invited to a presentation
and tour at the virtual reality CAVE at the National Center for Supercomputing
Seating availability is limited for Friday night's symposium dinner,
which will feature a keynote address by May Berenbaum, the head of the
UI entomology department.
Co-sponsoring the event are the UI Environmental Council; the School
of Integrative Biology; the departments of animal biology, entomology,
plant biology and animal sciences; the Program in Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology; the Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution Group; the Illinois
Natural History Survey; and the UI Sigma Xi chapter.
The symposium is part of the International Biodiversity Observation
Year 2001-2002, an initiative of Diversitas, based in Paris. Diversitas
is an international global environmental change research program sponsored
by the International Council for Science, Scientific Committee on Problems
of the Environment, International Union of Biological Sciences, International
Union of Microbiological Societies and UNESCO-MAB (Man and the Biosphere).