American Association for the Advancement of Science 2017 Annual Meeting – J. Gill

University of Maine paleoecologist Jacquelyn Gill will speak Feb. 17 in Boston at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2017 Annual Meeting: Serving Society Through Science Policy. Gill’s talk is titled “The Past Isn’t Dead: The Last 2 Million Years Can Help Biodiversity in the Next 100.” “Large herbivores appear to buffer the impact of climate change on plants, and their removal had large-scale consequences for modern ecosystems that are still playing out today,” says the assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology. Climate change, extinction and other threats facing ecosystems are not new, she says, and a number of examples in the recent fossil record can be drawn upon as analogs. And understanding how the past’s biodiversity responded to these so-called natural experiments can help people today prepare for the next century, according to Gill. Those lessons from the past can inform cutting-edge — and often controversial — conservation strategies, including managed relocation of species, de-extinction and rewilding. A UMaine Today magazine story related to this research is online.