Speaker List

ENHS Speakers for 2019-2020

20 Sept. Stuart Perlmeter – Bats Room Change – Lawrence 115
18 Oct. Jesse D’Elia – Reintroducing California Condors to the Pacific Northwest
15 Nov. Greg Retallack  – Astropedology and the Origin of Life
13 Dec. Scott Pearson – Tufted Puffins in a Dynamic Seascape
17 Jan. Kathleen Dean Moore –  Heartening: Encouragement for Earth’s Weary Lovers
21 Feb. Paul Cziko – Opening a “Window” into Antarctica’s Frozen Ocean
20 March John Helmer – Steens Mountain: A Tale of Beauty and Hard Work
17 April John Bishop – The Weevil Empire: How Insects Rule Plant Succession at Mount
St. Helens and Other Stories from the Pumice Plain
15 May David Wagner – Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts

All talks are free, start at 7:30 p.m. on the dates listed, and usually are held in room 100 Willamette Hall on the University of Oregon campus; updates at http://pages.uoregon.edu/enhs/.


20 Sept.                Stuart Perlmeter                             Bats

Perlmeter is a retired public school teacher. In 2015, in recognition of the effectiveness of the methods he had developed and for his own excellence as a teacher, Perlmeter was selected as Oregon’s Math/Science Teacher of the Year, the second time he was so honored. Perlmeter will delve into his 15 years of bat research to help us understand these fascinating animals. Bats account for 25% of all mammal species on earth, but the roles chiropterans play in ecosystems have been overlooked until recently. In his talk to us, Perlmeter will cover a range of topics including bat diversity, basic biology, echolocation, roosting patterns, reproductive strategies, the importance of bats to ecosystems worldwide, and some of the current threats to bat populations. If conditions permit, he will bring live bats for attendees to observe up close.


18 Oct.                 Jesse D’Elia                                      Reintroducing California Condors to the Pacific Northwest

D’Elia is the endangered species reintroduction coordinator for the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with recent projects involving California condors, Oregon silverspot butterflies, Guam kingfishers, and grizzly bears. He is the lead author of the book, California Condors in the Pacific Northwest (OSU Press), and his research on endangered species spans multiple disciplines, including history, spatial modeling, genetics, and policy. In his talk, D’Elia will discuss the history of condors in the Northwest and progress toward their recovery and eventual return to the region. He’ll also share some insights from his latest spatial modeling efforts to predict where condors might become established if they were reintroduced to Redwood National Park.


15 Nov.                Greg Retallack                                 Astropedology and the Origin of Life

Retallack’s professorship in the department of geology here at the University of Oregon began in 1981. His research specialty is paleosols: fossil soils. In his talk to us he will expand his view to include soils from extraterrestrial locations. Astropedology is soil science of other planets and the early Earth. Current planetary exploration is favoring soil planets such as Mars as promising locations for the origin of life. The very early record of soils on Earth is also becoming better understood, and Archean paleosols are surprisingly similar to soils on Mars and Ceres. Could it be that after all we are but soil grown tall?


13 Dec.                 Scott Pearson                                   Tufted Puffins in a Dynamic Seascape

Pearson is a senior research scientist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, where his research focuses primarily on shorebirds and seabirds of conservation concern, including the snowy plover, marbled murrelet, and tufted puffin. In addition, he is continuing research on one federally threatened land-bird species, the streaked horned lark. He also supervises the west-side research team. Scientists on this team study cougar-human interactions, predator-prey dynamics in landscapes occupied by wolves, black-tailed deer population dynamics, Mazama pocket gopher habitat, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly population trends, the influence of pinnipeds on salmon, and marine mammal stranding. In his talk he will give an overview of tufted puffin natural history, conservation status, population threats, potential conservation actions, and ongoing research and research needs. Cosponsored by the Lane County Audubon Society.


17 Jan.                 Kathleen Dean Moore                    Heartening: Encouragement for Earth’s Weary Lovers

These are hard times for naturalists, birders, hikers, children, and all of us who love the Earth and its wild creatures. Messages of global mass extinction, climate catastrophe, and ecosystem collapse are dark and pressing. So let us take an evening to gather our loins for the work ahead of us. We may be tired, we may be weary, but the world desperately needs our defense. With drawings and essays from her new collaboration with Canadian humorist and artist Bob Haverluck, Kathleen Dean Moore will remind us of why we work so hard for the sake of the planet and why we must continue. Moore is a philosopher, climate activist, and writer from Oregon State University, the author, most recently, of Piano Tide, a novel; Great Tide Rising; and Moral Ground. From Corvallis, she travels widely to speak about the moral urgency of climate action and perform with the music/spoken word collaboration, “The Extinction Variations (Meadowlarks).”


21 Feb.                 Paul Cziko                                        Opening a “Window” into Antarctica’s Frozen Ocean

Cziko is an evolutionary biologist, physiologist, tinkerer, Antarctic SCUBA diver, and research faculty member at the University of Oregon. In 2017, he conceived and led the development of the McMurdo Oceanographic Observatory at McMurdo Station, Antarctica—a first-of-its kind live-streaming science and outreach platform positioned 70 feet below the solid sea ice in the world’s southernmost accessible marine environment. Paul will present how—with this technology along with field and laboratory experiments—he studies the physiology and ecology of Antarctic marine fishes and invertebrates, especially the risk of organismal freezing and the evolution of their freezing avoidance strategies. He has completed eight seasons in Antarctica and 180 dives under the ice in support of Antarctic research projects. His talk will be augmented with mind-blowing photos, video, and audio recorded under the sea ice of Antarctica.


20 March            John Helmer                                    Steens Mountain: A Tale of Beauty and Hard Work 

Helmer retired as Executive Director of a higher education consortium in 2016. He remains active in a number of organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy in Oregon, for which work he was honored as volunteer of the year. Germane to his talk to us, he has served as the Recreation Representative to the Steens Mountain Advisory Council, a group comprising landowners, environmentalists, ranchers, the Burns Paiute tribe, and others advising the BLM on creative approaches to managing 428,000 acres of public land in Harney County. Helmer will speak about the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management & Protection Area, including its origins, history, recreational highlights, and management. Come hear about this unique and wild Oregon treasure and how you can influence its future.


17 April                John Bishop                                      The Weevil Empire: How Insects Rule Plant Succession at Mount

St. Helens and Other Stories from the Pumice Plain

Bishop is Co-Director & Associate Dean at the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of biological sciences at Washington State University. He is interested in the response of populations, communities, and ecosystems to catastrophic disturbance. In his ecological research at Mount St. Helens he is examining the plants, animals, and soils of the primary successional Pumice Plain. Much of this work is focused on herbivore effects on keystone plant colonists, such as a lupin (Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii, and its specialist lepidopteran herbivores), and willows (Salix sitchensis) and cascading effects on community and ecosystem development. If you go to

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/from-mt-st-helens-volcanic-ashes-mother-nature-rebuilds you can view a PBS video in which Bishop describes his Mount St. Helens research. Cosponsored by the Native Plant Society of Oregon, Emerald Chapter.


15 May                David Wagner                                 Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts

Wagner has lived and worked in Eugene, Oregon, for over 40 years. He was Director and Curator of the University of Oregon Herbarium from 1976 to 1993. Since 1993 he has operated the Northwest Botanical Institute, dedicated to research, education, and public service. He specializes in ferns, hornworts, mosses, and liverworts with a focus on field botany and taxonomy. Wagner will show us that hiding among the mosses and ferns in our forests are plants with a mossy aspect but in completely different divisions: liverworts and hornworts. The liverworts, with a ribbon-like thallus, are easily mistaken for lichens. Hornworts look like grass blades when mature. Leafy liverworts are easily overlooked because they share the same life form and life cycle as mosses. The “leaves” of liverworts typically have asymmetrical shapes that are unlike those of mosses or vascular plants. Wagner’s photomicrographs will help us get up close and personal with the beautiful and graceful forms of these often overlooked organisms.