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McMullen Lecture highlights Earth Week events at MC

L. Scott Mills, a professor in North Carolina State University’s department of forestry and environmental resources, will present the annual Donald B. McMullen Memorial Lecture in Biology at Monmouth College on April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business.
Entitled “Seven Billion Humans Meet Nine Million Other Species,” the lecture is free and open to the public. It coincides with other Earth Week activities on campus, including a cleanup day at Hamilton Pond, vegetation restoration at the college’s LeSuer Nature Preserve and a faculty colloquium led by biology professor Ken Cramer.
Mills, a member of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in Global Environmantal Change at N.C. State, will also speak to science students on April 22 at 4 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium. The title of that talk, which will be more technical in nature, is “How Camouflage Hides Animals While Revealing Mysteries of Climate Change.”
Formerly a faculty member at the University of Montana, Mills was a contributing author to the North American section of the Nobel Prize-winning report from the 2007 International Panel on Climate Change. His research across normally disparate scientific disciplines has led to key advances in applying ecological science to wildlife conservation.
“Humans have enjoyed a long period of sustained positive exponential growth, and have emerged as a strongly interacting species on planet Earth,” said Mills, who was a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. “We have had major effects on the world’s nine million other species. And yet, when societal will has been strong, biological science has been able to direct spectacular conservation successes.”
Mills will ask the audience to consider the recovery from near-extinction of most of North America’s large mammals from overhunting and many predatory bird species from DDT poisoning.
“Our tools for the study of rare and elusive species have become remarkably sophisticated, and I will end my talk with some modern success stories – from the Himalayas of Bhutan to the forests of Montana — at the interface of conservation science and action,” he said.
During his earlier talk, Mills will speak about one of nature’s most effective defenses and how natural selection has shaped an astonishing portfolio of ways for animals to hide from their predators.
The McMullen Lectureship in Biology was endowed in 1973 by Mrs. Donald McMullen of Silver Springs, Md., in memory of her husband, who was a biology professor at Monmouth College from 1928 to 1938. The fund was established to assist the college in bringing to campus outstanding scholars in the biological sciences.
Titled “The Beginning of Civilization: An Environmentalist’s Wakeup Call to Humanity,” Cramer’s talk will take place on April 24 at 4 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium.