Invited Speaker

Dr. Mark Allen Davis

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Dr. Mark Allen Davis, Ph.D., is a Conservation Biologist and the Director of the Collaborative Conservation Genetics Laboratory at the Illinois Natural History Survey. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Biological Sciences at North Dakota State University, a M.S. in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. from the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Mark’s current research is broad, interdisciplinary, and collaborative, with a general interest in measuring, monitoring, and promoting biodiversity, with the goal of extending species’ evolutionary trajectories well into the future. Though his research is taxonomically diverse (from springtails to gar, from stoneflies to alligator snapping turtles), he has a deep affinity for and is inspired by those maligned creatures like bats and pitvipers. While often societally reviled in western cultures, these organisms yield tremendous value in terms of the critical ecosystem services they provide. Therefore, the development of effective strategies to ensure their persistence is conservation imperative. Necessarily, his work uses modern methodologies and diverse datasets to assess the endangerment process and identify ecological factors and life history characteristics that may predispose species to extinction in the Anthropocene. Leveraging the information gleaned from these approaches, Mark works with partners to collectively develop impactful approaches and conservation initiatives designed to promote population growth and long-term persistence of imperiled species.

Talk title:

Old Wine in New Bottles: Viewing Modern Pitviper Conservation through the Lens of Legacy Data