Event: PalAss Exceptional Lecturer tour by Prof Mark Williams

Registration via https://event.ugent.be/registration/Anthropocene from 08-12-2022 14:41 until 09-12-2022 13:00


The Department of Geology has the pleasure of hosting Prof. dr. Mark Williams of the University of Leicester (UK) for a lunchtime talk on December 9th 2022.  Mark is the Palaeontological Association (www.palass.orgexceptional lecturer for this year, and the lecture is part his tour around Europe discussing the wholesale reconfiguration of the biosphere in the Anthropocene. The talk also is part of the Department of Geology’s ‘Geological Research Seminars’. 


Title: The Anthropocene: Planetary scale change to the biosphere, and the future well-being of planet Earth


Abstract : Over the past ten millennia humans have halved the mass of the biosphere, concentrated most of the mass of terrestrial mammals in themselves and the animals that feed them, and in their billions of individuals now account for most of the numerical abundance of primates. Of itself, this indicates a level of domination that is exceptional for a single large species in the history of the biosphere. To that we must add the systematic reconfiguration of ecosystems globally and the 1000s of non-native species that have been translocated therein. Many of these changes have left a distinctive palaeontological signature in the sedimentary record, one likely to be recognisable in most regions and ecosystems of the world, and one which may help to define a new epoch of geological time, the Anthropocene. If sustained, this change may denote a permanent state-shift in the structure of the biosphere. If it fails, it will likely be the result of excessive human consumption resulting in a mass extinction. I will discuss how palaeontology contributes to quantifying the degree of Anthropocene change, and how it can be used to influence our strategies towards a more sustainable relationship with nature. 



Register Option Description Location When? Available Seats

PalAss Exceptional Lecturer tour by Prof Mark Williams

Faculty Board Room, Building S2, campus Sterre, 3rd Floor

09-12-2022 13:00 - 14:00