February 08, 2013


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Harry W. Greene will give the talk, "Natural history, aesthetics, and conservation," Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rooke Chemistry Auditorium (Room 116) at Bucknell University.

The talk, held in celebration of Darwin Day, is free and open to the public. It is hosted by the Department of Biology and co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the Departments of Geography, Philosophy, and Religion.

Greene's presentation will examine how the diversity of life on earth is under serious threats from multiple human-related causes, and how science plays well-known roles in addressing management aspects of this problem.

He will describe how natural history also plays a vital role in enhancing our appreciation for organisms and environments, thereby influencing the value judgments that ultimately underlie all conservation.

He will explain how an 18th century philosopher's distinction between beauty and sublime can be used in the context of Darwin's notion of descent with modification, then illustrate this approach with frogs, rattlesnakes, the African megafauna, Longhorn Cattle, and California Condors.

Greene is a herpetologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. He has conducted field work in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa and Vietnam. His main areas of research are evolutionary biology, behavioral and community ecology, vertebrate conservation, and feeding and defense in lizards and snakes. In addition to numerous peer-reviewed research papers in his field, he has published the popular science book Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature.

International Darwin Day is held on or around the Feb. 12 birthday anniversary of biologist Charles Darwin.

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