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The History and Future of Species Extinction

Defaunation illustration - popup
This illustration depicts life on Earth from 50,000 years ago to present day and into the future, showing both terrestrial (top) and marine (bottom) habitats. Nicolle Fuller

Douglas McCauley

According to Douglas McCauley, the extinction of species is biological grand larceny. Every species that we drive extinct on our planet robs us of beauty, history, and all too often money, food, and valuable stability.

McCauley’s talk will examine what we can learn from the past to help predict what the future of extinction will look like. He will compare what the story of extinction looks like on land, in the ocean, and in our freshwater ecosystems. He will also examine how climate change is likely to totally change the game for extinction dynamics. Finally, his talk will explore what role we all can and must play in shaping what the future of extinction becomes for our planet.

McCauley is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also a Sloan Research Fellow in the Ocean Sciences and serves as the director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative.