Research on Rainforest Canopies

Join us tomorrow night at the Coffeehouse for another Science Cafe. Dr. Nalini M. Nadkarni, President of International Canopy Network and faculty at The Evergreen State College will be the guest speaker for the evening.

From Ivory Towers to Prison Watch Towers:
Research on rainforest canopies and its communication to non-traditional public audiences.

When: 7:00 pm, Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Where: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House, 516 Capitol Way S. Olympia, Washington.

Rainforest canopies foster tremendous diversity and complexity, but remain one of the most poorly understood communities on Earth. Using mountain-climbing techniques, construction cranes, and hot-air balloons, canopy researchers have documented the rich flora and fauna that live their entire lives in the canopy. My research in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula has shown that canopy communities contribute substantially to maintenance of biodiversity, nutrient cycling, and enhancement of wildlife habitat for the whole ecosystem. However, human disturbances such as forest fragmentation, air pollution, and global climate change, can have strong negative effects on canopy biota.

To raise awareness of the fragility of forest canopy biota and encourage their protection, I have developed pathways to communicate results of my canopy studies to the public by creating partnerships with artists, faith-based communities, and incarcerated men and women. I describe this work as a potential model for other scientists to bring their research to the public and thereby become open to new perspectives on their studies.

Statement provided by Science Café courtsey of Dr. Nalini M. Nadkarni

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