Yadvinder Malhi will explore a variety of ways in which animals can influence ecosystem structure, biomass, fire regimes and even climate, drawing on evidence from the Pleistocene to modern times, looking at scales from termites to mammoths, and drawing on ongoing experiments and “rewilding” projects around the world. Ecologists have long been aware that animals are not mere passive recipients of the nutritious bounty that plants provide them, that they can shape the ecosystems around them through food webs and by altering the nature of the habitat around them. An appreciation of animal influence on ecosystem function leads to awareness of how many even apparently low disturbance ecosystems may carry the legacy of past extinctions, yet our models of the global biosphere still entirely ignore animals. In a world of increasing human pressure and shifting climates, animals can have an important role in maintaining resilient ecosystems.
The Stamford Raffles Lecture is ZSL’s premier talk by an invited guest speaker in its annual programme of Science and Conservation Events. Established in 1995, the lectures have been given by eminent researchers on a wide range of zoological topics. It is preceded by the ZSL Annual Awards Ceremony.
Tickets must be booked in advance.