Public invited to free summer lecture series at U-M Biological Station

May 8, 2024
Written By:
Chrissy Billau, U-M Biological Station
The U-M Biological Station from South Fishtail Bay, Douglas Lake. Image credit: U-M Biological Station.

PELLSTON, Michigan—The University of Michigan Biological Station, a more than 10,000-acre research and teaching campus along Douglas Lake just south of the Mackinac Bridge, will host distinguished scientists, artists and authors from across the United States as part of its 2024 Summer Lecture Series.

Featured on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. from May 29 through July 31 at the U-M campus in northern Michigan, topics include the evolution of foraging traits in hummingbirds, the adventures of U-M botanists who braved the Grand Canyon in 1938, environmental mercury toxicity, and Indigenous languages and grammatical gender.

The community is invited to the free, public events at the U-M Biological Station, located at 9133 Biological Road in Pellston. The talks will take place in Gates Lecture Hall.

“We are proud to welcome a spectacular lineup of dynamic speakers to our field station who will open windows into our natural world and ignite discussions,” said Aimée Classen, director of the U-M Biological Station and a professor in the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“Families are always invited to visit and use our beautiful trails, but on summer evenings they also have the opportunity to hear directly from leading experts in the U.S. focused on critical environmental issues and learn how the science impacts all of us.”

The summer lecture series begins May 29 with “Alternative Community States in Floral Microbes,” a Bennett Lecture in Mycology and Plant Biology. Tadashi Fukami, professor of biology and Earth system science at Stanford University, is an ecologist known for exploring complex plant and animal communities with small-scale experiments.

At Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in California, Fukami studies the interactions between sticky monkey flowers, the hummingbirds and insects that pollinate them, and the colonies of microbes that live in the nectar of these flowers.

The June 5 lecture is titled “Michigan Botanists Brave the Grand Canyon.” Melissa Sevigny is a science journalist at KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) and author of the award-winning book “Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon.”

The book features the grand adventures of Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter, two pioneering U-M botanists who frequented the Biological Station throughout their careers. The two women took a historic boat trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1938 to record the plants that lived along what was then the most dangerous river in the world.