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Biological Sciences

Faculty Presentations

Faculty from the Department of Biological Sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are available to visit local schools and other community groups and talk about interesting biological topics, the research that they are doing, or opportunities for study and research at SIUE. The presentations are designed to be understood by the non-scientist and can be tailored to fit the time available. Interaction and questions are welcomed. A list of presentations is shown below. If you are interested in inviting a faculty member to give a talk at your school or other organization, please click on their name for contact information.

Mammals of Illinois

Dr. Rick Essner

This presentation will introduce your group to the remarkable diversity of mammals in Illinois through photographs and taxidermy specimens from our vertebrate museum.

Birds of Illinois

Dr. Rick Essner

This presentation will introduce your group to the remarkable diversity of birds in Illinois, through photographs and taxidermy specimens from our vertebrate museum.

Bugs are Awesome!

Dr. Jake Williams

This talk highlights the biological, medical, agricultural, economic, and social importance of insects.

Honey bees: They’re super sweet!

Dr. Jake Williams

Explores the close relationship honey bees have with humans and the current challenges to honey bee health.

Where do bugs go in the winter?

Dr. Jake Williams

Did you ever wonder how insects survive winter conditions?  Learn how certain bugs avoid freezing at extremely low temperature while some can even survive being frozen solid. Also, learn how climate change (warmer winter temperatures) may be more detrimental to insect winter survival than low temperatures.

What do scientists actually do?

Dr. Jake Williams

Everyone consumes information provided by scientists, but few people are familiar with the process of science. This talk examines how research scientists are trained and how science is done. (Can be combined with other talks.)

Animals and Plants of Australia

Dr. Peter Minchin

Dr. Minchin is from Australia, which is as large as the United States and includes a wide range of environments, from tropical in the north to cool temperate in the south, with huge deserts in the center of the continent. We will take a photographic tour of Australia, meet some of its unique animals and plants, and learn about the special adaptations that allow them to thrive in their habitats.

Endangered Species in Illinois and Missouri

Dr. Peter Minchin

Everyone is familiar with endangered species like the Giant Panda, the Tiger, and the White Rhinoceros but there are many species of animals and plants in our own region that are under threat. This talk will introduce some of the endangered species of Illinois and Missouri, including the Osark Hellbender, the Indiana Bat, the Least Tern, and the Prairie Fringe Orchid, and discuss the human activities that threaten them and the conservation efforts underway to save them from extinction.

Heads or Tails?: How Developing Animals Divide Up Eggs and Decide How Body Parts Are Arranged

Dr. Dave Jennings 

As animals begin to develop, one of the most important early events is to divide the space in the egg into smaller units.  Early on most organisms also begin to establish the basic organization of their body plan; head vs. tail, front vs. back, and left vs. right.  This presentation covers basic mechanisms that regulate early developmental stages and are central to successful reproduction.

Amazing Amphibians

Dr. Dave Jennings  

Amphibians are best known for their use of both aquatic and terrestrial environments during different parts of their life. What is less well known is how diverse amphibians are in where they live, and how many species no longer follow the “typical” amphibian pattern. Amphibians are also considered important indicators of environmental quality. Many species have shown dramatic declines in population size and are now endangered or even extinct.

What Plants Are Doing When We're Not Looking

Dr. Darron Luesse

Lecture will discuss how movements (such as phototropism and gravitropism) and flexible developmental patterns allow plants to be successful even though they are stuck in one place. 

Science and Ethics of Biotechnology: Feeding Seven Billion Hungry People Without Destroying the Earth

Dr. Darron Luesse

Lecture will cover the basics of agricultural biotechnology, some potential applications, and the ethical debate surrounding their use.

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