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13th EMBL|EMBO Science and Society Conference

Biodiversity in the Balance: Causes and Consequences

EMBL Heidelberg, Germany Friday 9 November - Saturday 10 November 2012 Registration closed
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Why You Should Attend

  • Summary
    Biodiversity refers to the variation of life at all levels of biological organization - genes, species, and ecosystems – in all their mind-boggling manifestations on the planet. Through the provision of ecosystem “goods and services” it is the most salient feature of life on earth. It supports all of our economic and social development, and is vital to our health and well-being. Species of animals and plants have always been important as sources of food, fuels, medicines, clothing and building materials, while ecosystems provide and maintain supplies of clean water, soil and air. However, this is frequently taken for granted in an increasingly developed and globalised world.

    Why is the living world so diverse; that is, what forces and processes led to the evolution and proliferation of so many species? The dynamics that allow interacting species to coexist in an ecosystem simultaneously influence the productivity, nutrient dynamics and stability of that ecosystem and this process can go further; species have coevolved giving rise to a world of symbiotic ecosystems. What happens if those dynamics get thrown off balance? What evidence is there that suggests that biodiversity is becoming substantially reduced on a planetary scale? What methods and new tools do scientists currently employ to map and assess biodiversity both locally and globally? What are the stakes for human health, economic prosperity and long-term survival? How should access to biological resources be responsibly and equitably managed? And, finally, the evidence that human actions may be harming, perhaps irreversibly, the biodiversity upon which we all depend raises yet another question: what is the state of affairs in international efforts to counter further losses of biodiversity?
  • Aims of event
    The main aim of these joint meetings is to present important areas of life science research in a manner accessible to all, and to promote reflection on their implications. At the same time, they should facilitate a broad dialogue between biologists, behavioral and social scientists, students of all disciplines, and members of the public.  
  • Topics
    • The evolving web of life: continuities and discontinuities
    • Assessing, mapping and researching forms of life
    • Biodiversity: benefits and the risks of loss
    • Human impact and visions of sustainability 

Who Should Attend

  • Everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information about previous meetings in the series please check the Science and Society Website.

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