Top Ecologists Anchor HSU Biodiversity Conference Sept. 29 and 30

World experts in ecology, biology and conservation will headline a two-day Biodiversity Conference at Humboldt State University the weekend of Sept. 29 and 30.

The two-day science forum, free and open to the general public, will be keynoted by Scott Hoffman Black of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and an expert in insect pollination; Dominick DellaSala of the GEOS Institute, Ashland, OR, world-renowned forestry author and wilderness conservation specialist; and Tyrone Hayes, the U.C. Berkeley herpetologist famed for his discovery that reed frogs can serve as red flags for water pollution.

The weekend conference will bring together educators, researchers and representatives of non-profits and environmental government agencies to discuss the protection of biodiversity. Presentations will span a broad array of ecological topics, including avenues for local action and conservation, as well as related hands-on activities for families and children.

Black, a researcher, conservationist and educator, will discuss the importance of insect pollinators, the threats they face and how humans can protect them and food supplies from pesticides, climate change, increasing urbanization and loss of floral diversity. Black has degrees in ecology, plant science and entomology from Colorado State University. His latest book is titled “Attracting Native Pollinators” and he will give his lecture, “Bringing Back the Pollinators,” on Sunday, Sept. 30 at noon in the Kate Buchanan Room.


Keynoter DellaSala will deliver his address, “Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Is Time Running Out?,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, also in the Kate Buchanan Room. The GEOS President and Chief Scientist is also President of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology. An internationally-recognized author on temperate rainforest ecology, he is a conservationist whose work has been published in National Geographic, Science Digest, Science, Time, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and USA Today. His broadcast appearances include CNN, MSNBC and several PBS wildlife documentaries. He has testified in congressional hearings on behalf of the Endangered Species Act, road-less area conservation, national monument designations, forest protections and climate change.

Both Black and DellaSala will sign copies of their most recently published books following their respective presentations Sunday. DellaSala’s is “Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation.” Both books will be available in the HSU Library for the two weeks prior to the conference.

On the Friday evening before the conference, Sept. 28, DellaSala will introduce a film in Goodwin Forum, Nelson Hall East at 7 p.m. in which he is featured, “A Wild American Forest.” He will lead a group discussion afterwards in the same room.

Berkeley biologist and herpetologist Tyrone Hayes’s research focuses on the effects of pesticide use on amphibian development and hormone production. His work to increase knowledge about the dangers of pesticide use, specifically Atrazine, has created much controversy between his proponents and the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims that his findings reveal dangers not only to wildlife populations but also to humans. He asserts, “Surprisingly, frog hormones are very similar, and in some cases identical, to human hormones.” He will speak on “Amphibians” on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. in the Kate Buchanan Room.

In addition to the keynote speakers, the Biodiversity Conference will feature hands-on activities (marine life touch-tanks, microscopes, live birds of prey), fire ecology demonstrations, museum exhibits and many interactive displays. The only portion that requires online registration is the fire ecology demonstrations.

Sponsored by Humboldt State’s College of Natural Resources and Sciences, the conference is also funded by President Rollin Richmond, Student Engagement and Leadership Services, the Wildlife Graduate Student Society, and a grant from the National Science Foundation obtained by Biological Sciences Chair Bruce O’Gara under the auspices of HSU’s Sponsored Programs Foundation.

A full schedule, meeting locations, event map, registration and profiles of all the guests and participating groups are posted at