Brother Lucian Blersch Symposium Highlights Biodiversity
It’s the natural order of life on Earth: species come and species go. The trouble is, many scientists these days believe more species are going than is good for the health of the planet and its inhabitants. On March 31, the Brother Lucian Blersch Symposium took a hard look at this problem with “Biodiversity: A Land of Plenty or an Extinction Crisis?”
Allan W. Hook, professor of Biology and Lucian Professor, says the event, which he helped organize, was meant to educate attendees on the repercussions of less biodiversity in the world. As he told the assembled crowd in his lecture on mud-dauber wasps, “Our practices are such that we may lose other species that are dependent upon others. When you lose one species, you may lose lots of other species.”
Philip J. DeVries, a professor of Biological Sciences at the University of New Orleans, lectured on his studies of tropical butterflies. Eric R. Pianka, a Denton A. Cooley Centennial Professor of Zoology at UT–Austin, wrapped up the event with a talk on the changes humans must make in their habits to prevent an extinction crisis.
The symposium also focused on the harmful effects of population growth on the environment. “We don’t think enough about future generations and what they’ll inherit,” says Hook. “We need a new ethic on how we deal with population growth. If humans are going to continue to advance and be successful, we have to do a better job of protecting the diversity of organisms and their habitats on this planet.”
Brother Lucian Blersch, whose memory is honored by the symposium, was a longtime professor of Engineering at St. Edward’s.
He died in 1986.