The Value of Biodiversity and When a Frog and a Virus Went to War (and How the Battles Were Won and Lost)

The Value of Biodiversity
Talk by Dr Richard Pearson, Director, Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment, UCL

As biodiversity continues to decline globally, there is much debate about the strength of different arguments for why we should do more to conserve nature. Is it sufficient to base arguments for biodiversity conservation on the intrinsic value of nature, or should we place emphasis on the services and economic benefits that biodiversity provides for humans? Dr. Richard Pearson addresses this question, drawing on recent and ongoing research in ecology and conservation biology.

When a Frog and a Virus Went to War (and How the Battles Were Won and Lost)
Talk by Dr Stephen Price, PDRA, UCL Genetics Institute & Institute of Zoology, ZSL

Hollywood loves plagues that drive humans to the brink of extinction whilst governments fret about disease threats to public health and economic interests. Wildlife diseases receive less attention but are also of serious concern. In this lecture, you will learn about a horrible viral disease affecting frogs that live near your homes. It is a case study that will give you an insight into the most interesting and troubling aspects of infectious disease emergence: devastation of host populations, weapons used to wage war, and how the environment and human behaviour can influence outcomes.

This event will be hosted by Professor Ken Norris, Director of Science, Institute of Zoology, ZSL

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About the speakers

Richard Pearson is a Reader of Biodiversity at UCL. He is also Director of UCL’s Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, which is part of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment. Richard completed his Doctorate in biogeography at the University of Oxford in 2004. From 2005-2013 he was a postdoc and then research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Richard’s research focuses on the biogeography of animals and plants: Where are species distributed? Why are they distributed there? How do distributions change over time? Richard has been identified as one of the world’s most Highly Cited Researchers in the field of Environment/Ecology (Thomson Reuters 2014). Alongside his research and teaching, Richard engages in communicating biodiversity research to a general audience, including publishing a non-specialist book on the impact of climate change on biodiversity (Driven to Extinction, 2011).

Dr Stephen Price cites Desmond Morris’ 'Naked Ape' and a spell cleaning up penguins caught in an oil slick off Cape Town as key influences on his decision to study Zoology at the University of Nottingham. It was there that he became captivated by the microscopic war that is waged within a body between a host and a parasite. Now almost five years into a postdoctoral career at UCL following a PhD at QMUL and IoZ, Stephen describes himself as a disease ecologist. This means his research centres around questions such as "What makes a pathogen bad?”, “How do pathogens spread?”, “How do pathogens that infect one host differ from those that infect many?”, and “What other (external) factors affect disease outcomes?”.

Attending this event

  • Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre and Bartlett Suite at ZSL London Zoo, Outer Circle, London, NW1 4RY
  • Tickets: This event free to attend but pre-booking is essential.


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