Café Scientifique: Bringing Dark Taxa to Light
|Sponsored by Ballston Science and Technology Alliance|
At this Café Scientifique, Dr. Christopher Myer, Research Zoologist National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution will talk about "Bringing Dark Taxa to Light: Biodiversity Exploration in the Age of Genomics." Recent large-scale, all species inventories have been initiated to understand the magnitude of biodiversity on our planet. The Moorea Biocode Project (MBP) is one such venture whose goal is to create a voucher-based, genetic record for every macrobiotic species on a tropical island in French Polynesia. After five years, over 200 scientists have contributed to document Moorea's biodiversity from the highest peaks to the deepest depths of the reef. More than ten thousand species have been encountered, with a high proportion new to science. As part of the process, the MBP has been DNA barcoding all species encountered to build a genetic registry of species across the entire ecosystem. Using new genetic technologies, we can now sample whole communities and match their profiles against its documented diversity. Comparisons of these whole community samples to what has been found using traditional voucher based approaches reveal a large fraction of unknown species, or "dark taxa." These dark taxa are equivalent to unregistered drivers in ecosystems. Who are they, what are they doing, and how important is their role in ecosystem functioning? These are now the challenges we face in order to better understand and predict ecosystem responses in the face of global change.
The goal of Café Scientifique is to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences and who can talk in plain English. Please come early to order table service and socialize. Special half-price burgers start at 5:30 p.m. Presentation begins at 6:15 p.m. followed by Q&A. No science background required! Café Scientifique is free and open to the public but advanced registration is requested.
|Date:||September 11, 2012|
|Time:||5:30 pm - 8:00 pm|
The Front Page Restaurant
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22203
|Registration:||Registration Now Closed|
For more information, please contact: