The Ohio State University at Newark

Putting the Dead to Work

March 8, 2019

Humans are fundamentally changing Earth’s ecosystems. In many cases these changes are the result of many, many decades of impact and exploitation. In the face of such dramatic change, we may not even know what a “natural” community should look like. In these cases, it is possible to look to the fossil record for insight. Jill Leonard-Pingel, Ph.D., assistant professor of earth science, will discuss her research in the emerging discipline of conservation paleobiology at an upcoming Faculty Talks Outside the Box lecture on Thursday, Mar. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in room #175 of the John. L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center.

“When I was a graduate student I decided to try to make my science more relevant and to contribute in a meaningful way to protecting our environment,” said Leonard-Pingel. “Paleontology is not just a science focused on filling museums with interesting objects. It is a science that is dynamic, changing and full of promise as a way for us to gain perspective on how our actions can impact ecosystems.”

Using examples from environments as varied as Caribbean coral reefs to the southern California coastline to lakes in Wisconsin, she will show how understanding the history of an ecosystem can lead to more effective conservation efforts.

“I think that it is important for people to understand that the impacts we are making on the environment are not trivial or short term,” said Leonard-Pingel. “Studies of the ‘young’ fossil record indicate that there are dramatic ways in which our ecosystems have changed in the past decades or centuries. In many cases, these changes are difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.”

During Faculty Talks Outside the Box, Ohio State Newark professors discuss recent research in their fields as it relates to our community and answer questions. All talks are free and open to the public. The Warner Center is located at 1219 University Drive, Newark, Ohio.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.