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13th EMBL|EMBO Science and Society Conference: Biodiversity in the Balance: Causes and Consequences
09 November 2012 — 10 November 2012
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
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?
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.
The aim of this conference is to facilitate a broad dialogue on these topics between biologists, behavioral and social scientists, students of all disciplines, and members of the public.
- 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
If you are a journalist interested in attending this conference and would like to apply for a free press pass, please register as a member of press on the website (under the 'Registration and Payment' link on the left of the page).