LRU News

Microbiologist to Address Sustainability During Earth Day Event

Mon Apr 22 2013

Earth Day 2013 will be celebrated around the world on Monday, April 22 and Lenoir-Rhyne University will feature a speaker from Cornell University to speak on the topic of sustainability. Dr. Eugene Madsen, professor of microbiology at Cornell, will discuss “It’s a Microbial World: How Diversity and Professionalism Lead to Ecological Resilience.” This event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 10:00am in the Belk Centrum on campus.

Dr. Madsen will attempt to address the questions, “What is sustainability? Is this a new concept?” Drawing on the history of Planet Earth, this presentation will use microbial diversity and ecology to demonstrate that sustainability has forever been essential for the biosphere to function. The metabolic versatility of microorganisms (especially Bacteria and Archaea) is nothing short of astounding.  New, ongoing discoveries emerge frequently, even in 2013. He will review how resourcefulness in microorganisms allows them to “make a living” and show how the results of intermingled microbial processes lead to ecological resilience- an important aspect of sustainability. There may be lessons here for human behavior.

Dr. Madsen has written over 80 articles in peer reviewed journals and has authored two books, Environmental Microbiology: From Genomes to Biogeochemistry and Parade of Unconventional Voices: Cartoons of Art, Humor, and Philosophy.

This event is sponsored by the Lenoir-Rhyne Steelman Lecture Series and the Reese Institute for Conservation of Natural Resources.

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