Seminar: Walter Jetz

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 12:00pm

Walter Jetz

Professor, Yale University

Predicting past and future global biodiversity dynamics with new data and technologies

Human alterations to climate, lands and oceans are now affecting organisms and species worldwide, with broad ecological consequences. Ecosystems globally are being transformed - and new ones are emerging - through the extinction, invasion, altered energetics, changed behaviors and newly evolved phenotypes of the species that define them. Both drivers and ecosystem consequences of these changes are connected across scales. A range of remote and in situ sensor technologies and data flows combined with novel computational and statistical techniques now support a global ecology that is centered on organisms yet addresses biodiversity and ecosystem change at the planetary scale. This provides a previously unthinkable empirical integration of biological processes across scales, allowing the assessment of species changes from the level of single individuals to multiple ecosystems. These advances have begun to transform our scientific understanding of global ecological dynamics and our ability to predict planetary health. I will illustrate these new opportunities, and remaining limitations, for addressing classical and newly emerging ecological questions and the integration of biological processes across spatial and temporal scales.

Walter Jetz received a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2002. He is a Professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department and in the School of the Environment at Yale University, where he arrived in 2009.

His research addresses global biodiversity dynamics in a changing world and integrates ecological, evolutionary, geographical, and environmental perspectives. One particular focus is the use of new technologies and data-flows to study biodiversity responses to change across scales. Flagship projects include Map of Life (a research, education and information platform addressing the global geographic distribution of species), VertLife (a resource linking the spatial, phylogenetic, spatial, and trait dimensions of terrestrial vertebrates) and EarthEnv (near-global high-resolution environmental data for biodiversity applications). For publications see here.

At Yale, Walter Jetz founded and directs the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change and its Max Planck-Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement of Global Change, an International Max Planck Center. For IPBES, he was member and co-manager of the Task Force on Data and Knowledge, chaired the Task Group on Indicators and was Lead Author of the Global Assessment. He is also a member of the GEO BON Implementation Committee where he co-chairs the Species Population Working Group. 

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