December 2011 Science Under the Dome


Join us Friday, December 9th at 7:00 PM as Dr. Daniel Kashian from the Department of Biological Sciences presents:

Globalization of Our Natural Areas: Tales of the Emerald Ash Borer and Other Exotic Species in Southeastern Michigan



Globalization is the process by which nations remove barriers to the flow of goods, capital, and service; the world becomes “flatter”, and cultures become homogenized. Ecosystems across the world also reflect these changes in international economies, so that non-native species are introduced into natural areas – often by global trade - whose plant and animal communities themselves become increasingly homogenized as those new species become invasive. The introduction and establishment of every new, damaging invasive species follows the pattern of many before it. There have been many, and many more will come. 

Species seen as “invasive” are almost always fought, from the weeds and insect pests in our gardens to the latest aggressive plants or animals in the forest. Fighting the invasion of our natural areas by exotic species is debatable, however. Prominent ecologist Stephen H.Spurr once said: “The forest insect is just as much a member of the California ecosystem if he flew in as an endemic insect from Oregon or was brought in as an exotic insect from Aragon. In short, from the viewpoint of the wilderness, there is no difference between native and introduced species. All were migrants there.”

We will explore terrestrial ecosystems in southeastern Michigan in the context of a changing and human-dominated world, using the emerald ash borer (EAB) as a central example. EAB is an invasive insect from Asia that has killed millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan. Despite early predictions of a complete kill-off of ash trees in the region, recent data suggest that the species is likely to persist even in the presence of EAB. Removal or slowing of the spread of EAB have been largely unsuccessful, however, suggesting that this invasive species will remain in our region or the foreseeable future, changing the stature of ash trees and forever altering our natural areas.

With the likelihood of many more exotic species being introduced as the world becomes more globalized, where do we go from here, and what is the future of our natural areas?

An RSVP is required for this free lecture as seating is limited.  Please RSVP here.

A copy of the event poster is avaiable here.

Dr. Kashian's Professional Record is available here.



The Wayne State Planetarium is dedicated to the promotion of science. We are proud to feature a new series of free public lectures covering modern topics in science.