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[edit] Conservation in a Technical World

Date: November 9, 2016, at 7:00 PM
Presenters: John Clark
Location: 3-333
Notes: Presentation slides
Abstract: How can hackers in software engineering, machine vision, learning, or hardware help in conservation of plants and animals, in zoos and in the wild? Come find out in this special Cluedump:

It is often said that nature is irreplaceable and that without plants in particular, which provide food, clothing, medicine, shelter, clean air, clear water and more, the planet as we know it could not exist. Conservationists concerned with saving nature have historically come from the biological sciences where an interest in species diversity and related fields readily translates into applied conservation. Thus, conservationists tend to look at conservation challenges in similar ways, often through ecological principals and solutions. While being successful in many respects, conservation as currently practiced suffers from a form of "groupthink" where solutions can be limited by the predominantly biological perspective being applied. If experts in other field such as engineering and computer science were more involved in creating conservation solutions, we could conceivably change dramatically how conservation is practiced. A technological focus could increase our success in saving species and ecosystems, and also inspire new generations of tech-minded students to apply their interests and skills to conservation. Dr. John Clark, President and CEO of the Center for Plant Conservation and Director of Plant Conservation for San Diego Zoo Global, will discuss current challenges in saving nature with a focus on plants, and detail how technology continues to evolve as a primary tool in the conservationist's toolkit. The goal of this talk is to present challenges in plant conservation and provide an opportunity for brainstorming and discussion on how engineering, computer science, and other technology-driven fields can create and support conservation outcomes to build a better tomorrow.

Bio: Dr. John Clark serves as President and CEO of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC). In 2015, CPC moved its headquarters to San Diego in order to formally partner with the San Diego Zoo Global. Together, these two world class organizations are working to "save plants and animals from extinction." CPC is a non-profit association of 40-plus botanical gardens, arboreta, and other organizations that work collaboratively on save plants from extinction. In addition, CPC's global management models and seed bank initiatives include 800 of the nation's most endangered plant species. CPC originated at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum and was then formerly based at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis before moving to its present National Headquarters in San Diego. John holds a Ph.D. in Botany with an emphasis in molecular systematics and biogeography and spent the bulk of his career conducting research on plant dispersal and evolution in the Pacific islands. His interests outside of botany includes amateur electronics. As a result, John's garage in Escondido, CA emits its own share of electromagnetic radiation on any given evening.
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