Renowned ecologist to host lecture at Buffalo State Sept. 30


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Bill Dennison (pictured above) will host a lecture this Friday in the Technology Building Room160 at 2 p.m. The lecture will last one hour.

Reuben Wolf, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State’s Great Lakes Center has invited internationally-renowned ecologist and University of Maryland Vice President of Science Application Bill Dennison to deliver a lecture entitled “How is Your Ecosystem Doing? Developing Scientifically Based Report Cards.” The talk will take place in the Technology Building Room 160 and will begin at 2 p.m. and last until 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30. The speech is free to all faculty, students and staff.

The lecture will promote a recent application Dennison employed with his graduate students while studying an embayment in Australia. The idea is to develop ecosystem report cards to gauge its health, primarily around bodies of water. Thus far, Dennison has employed this method, partnering with the World Wildlife Foundation, at basins around the Chesapeake Bay and Mississippi River. Now, Dennison comes to Buffalo State in order to propose the employment of this method around the Great Lakes.

However, the Great Lakes Center wants to invite students to this lecture across all majors, as well as faculty and staff. They believe Dennison’s talk can be easily absorbed even if you do not believe you can fully understand terms and phrases associated with the Earth science field.

“I was just hoping that students in Buffalo State are interested in science, in the health of ecosystems they inherit, how to best evaluate it and describe it in simple terms for media and public,” said Lyubov Burlakova, senior research scientist at the Great Lakes Center, who invited Dennison to Buffalo State to give the talk. This would be “an example of a scientific presentation which will be easy to understand for students in any field.”

Dennison is an expert in the fields of marine ecology, seagrass ecophysiology, water quality, and ecosystem health assessment. He first received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Chicago in 1984. Since then, he has authored and co-authored over 100 peer reviewed articles in science magazines, 25 book chapters, and edited 12 books on the subjects of biology, biodiversity, science communication, conservation, and a plethora of other topics in the field of ecology.

He has been a lecturer at University at Maryland and University of Queensland, Brisbane in Australia. In 2002, he was appointed Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland, where he remains a lecturer today.

Among some of his other accomplishments, he has served Director of the International Riverfoundation in Australia, sat on the chair of the Tidal Monitoring and Analysis Workgroup for the Chesapeake Bay Program, and chair of the Science and Technical Advisory Committee for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

Dennison is also the head of the Integration and Application Network (IAN), which is a conglomeration of scientists geared towards solving environmental issues. He served as the head of Healthy Waterways in Queensland, Australia, where he developed his ecosystem report card system, which has been used in Queensland, since 2000.

He was invited to speak at the International Great Lakes Conference in June 2016 and was invited back after delivering what was deemed “a great inspirational presentation” by those who attended the conference. Although he was a plenary speaker at the conference in June, this will be Dennison’s first talk at Buffalo State in which he will be the sole addressor.


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