Weaver Lecture Series to feature scientists Paul Bolstad and Peter Marra

Two renowned environmental scientists will visit Auburn University in March to discuss how artificial intelligence technologies will influence outdoor careers and daily life and how weather events influence migratory birds’ wintering ground.

The talks, part of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences’ Weaver Lecture Series, are open to the public and will take place at the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building, 602 Duncan Drive. A reception will be held prior to each talk.

Paul Bolstad, professor of ecosystem ecology and geographic information science in the Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, will speak at 3:30 p.m. on March 2. His talk, “Smart Bots in the Woods, or how small sensors, big data, and AI will change your outdoor career, and life,” will cover the convergence of positioning, communications, robotics and artificial intelligence technologies which are expected to change most aspects of daily life and the future of scientific research.

Bolstad has had a distinguished career in research, publishing over 100 peer-reviewed articles including two in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His grant awards total more than $24 million from a wide variety of sponsors including the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Education and USDA, to name a few. Widely cited among his peers, Bolstad’s textbook, “GIS Fundamentals, a First Text on Geographic Information Systems,” has sold over 100,000 copies to over 450 universities, on five continents and in over 30 countries. He has also received Best Paper Awards from the Journal of Geophysical Research, Landscape Ecology, and Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.

Peter Marra, a conservation scientist and the director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C., will speak at 3 p.m. on March 20. His talk, “Studying birds in the context of the annual cycle: Carry-over effects and seasonal interactions,” will cover the impacts of weather events on wintering ground for several species has important consequences for breeding and survival.

Marra earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University, a master’s from Louisiana State University and a doctorate from Dartmouth College and has been at the Smithsonian Institution since 1999. His research has encompassed four broad areas, including migration, climate, disease and urban ecology. Connecting events throughout the year, Marra’s research attempts to understand the biology of animals in the context of the full annual cycle. His papers have appeared in Science, Nature, PNAS, PLOS Biology, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Conservation Biology, Ecological Monographs, Biological Conservation and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

The Weaver Lecture Series was established in 1996 through an endowment provided by Earl H. and Sandra H. Weaver. The objective is to bring experts in various research areas relevant to forestry and wildlife sciences to the Auburn University campus to enhance the school’s academic programs through public lectures and interaction with faculty and students.

For details about the lecture series and to review research abstracts, visit the website: http://sfws.auburn.edu/weaver/.

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