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February 28, 2014
From: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy is Sophomore Plenary Speaker

POULTNEY, VT -- Green Mountain College will welcome Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy to campus as the 2014 Visiting Scientist and Sophomore Plenary speaker on March 4. The plenary session is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Ackley Auditorium, where he will present “A Case for Native Plants,” a talk based on his research on the most diverse animal group on Earth: insects. All students, faculty, staff, and residents in the surrounding community are invited to attend.

As a child, Tallamy learned first-hand about the finality of suburban development as practiced today. Having recently moved with his family into a new house in Berkeley Heights, N.J. he spent his summer days exploring the "wild" places that surrounded him. One of his first discoveries was a small pond where thousands of pollywogs wiggled near its shoreline and he took great delight in watching them grow each day. One day as he watched, a bulldozer crested nearby piles of dirt, and — in an act that has been replicated around the nation millions of times since — proceeded to bury the young toads and all of the other living treasures within the pond. Today as an entomologist at the University of Delaware, Doug investigates plant-insect interactions and the behavioral ecology of insects. His field observations led him to one of his most important contributions to conservation biology, his studies of another kind of bulldozer: non-native plants. His work helps explain why some non-native plants become invasive, and helps to quantify their ecosystem effects.

Tallamy is currently professor and department chair of the entomology and wildlife ecology department at the University of Delaware where he has written more than 65 research articles and has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology, among other subjects. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.

The Sophomore Plenary speaker is a high point each year in Dimensions of Nature where students in the sophomore class study the history and philosophy of science. In readings ranging from Aristotle and Galileo to Watson and Crick, students in Dimensions examine changes in prevailing models of the universe, approaches and methods of science, and relationships between science and society. Come to the Sophomore Plenary on March 4 to engage with the work of a leading scientist, experience the thrill of discovery and its applications, and hear a new perspective on the nature of science and its future direction.

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