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Speaking Sustainably

South Florida is host to some of the richest natural resources in the world. The balance of human and natural systems in our growing urban community is central to political, cultural and academic dialogues regarding the environment.

Presented by FIU’s School of Environment, Arts & Society and hosted by the Deering Estate, the Speaking Sustainably lecture series offers an opportunity to engage the community with critical environmental issues of the twenty-first century and inspire action.

2016-2017 Series

  • When Predators Need Saving: Changing the Face of Conservation for Sharks

    Sharks are disappearing from our oceans at an alarming rate. Currently, one quarter of the world's sharks, rays and skates are threatened with extinction. The lack of comprehensive and up-to-date data on species diversity, abundance and distribution hinders efforts to conserve these important and dynamic marine animals and help populations recover. 

    As part of the Speaking Sustainably Lecture Series, experts provided insights research and efforts to help protect these species including the ongoing worldwide shark census - Global FinPrint Project. An international, multi-institutional collaboration supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the project aims to inform and drive regional and global shark conservation.

    The lecture took place on February 6, 2017 at the Deering Estate - Visitor Center Theater.

    Download "When Predators Need Saving" Flyer

  • Algae as Beacons of Environmental Change in South Florida

    Algae are a tremendously diverse group of organisms that play a key role in aquatic ecosystems. As major producers of the oxygen in the atmosphere, algae are fundamental to life on Earth. However, changes in the environment can lead to competition, affecting other organisms, such as corals, and posing a threat to the environment in some cases.

    Identifying and understanding those changes is essential for forecasting variations in aquatic ecosystems and to inform appropriate policy. In this panel discussion, experts explored algal diversity and their interactions with the environment, and give examples of their beneficial and detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems in South Florida.

    The lecture took place on January 18, 2017 at the Deering Estate - Visitor Center Theater.

    Download "Algae as Beacons of Environmental Change in South Florida" Flyer

  • South Florida's Forested Rocklands

    Pine forests and hardwood hammocks have long been two sides of a 'habitat coin' on Miami's limestone rocklands. The pine forests harbor our richest suite of endemic understory plants, and the hardwood hammocks host the most species-rich woody plant flora in the continental U.S.

    In this presentation, we discussed the forces that drive ecosystem dynamics between pine forests and hardwood hammocks, the biodiversity each supports and its variability across sites including the Deering Estate, and the most imposing threats to these rockland ecosystems. 

    The lecture took place at the Deering Estate - Visitor Center Theater on December 7, 2016.

    Download "South Florida's Forested Rocklands" Flyer

  • Saving North America's Most Endangered Bird

    One of the world's most endangered birds, the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow resides exclusively in Central Florida. At last count, less than 100 males remain in the wild and the number of elusive females is unknown.

    In 2015, seven sparrows were put in the care of researchers from the Tropical Conservation Institute (TCI)--the first to ever be reared in a captive setting.

    In this lecture, we will learn why captive breeding can be an essential conservation tool. The lecture took place at the Deering Estate - Visitor Center Theater on November 30, 2016 and revealed fresh solutions to halt species extinction through this comprehensive program. 

    Download "Saving North America's Most Endangered Bird" Flyer

  • Blood Theft: A Mosquito Obsession with Humans

    The Aedes aegypti mosquito has been plaguing humans for thousands of years. This mosquito is the vector of Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Chikungunya. By biting us, females have the opportunity to spread these diseases. 

    This talk explore dhow mosquitoes detect their human hosts and the use of molecular genetics to understand this deadly behavior. Current approaches in mosquito control and personal protection were described. In addition, new techniques were discussed that could end our reliance of insecticides to control mosquito populations. 

    This lecture took place at the Deering Estate - Vistor Center Theater on October 28, 2016.

    Download "Blood Theft" Flyer