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Other Durham events

Ecology, Ecosystems and Ethics

Please note that this event takes place on the first floor and has no step-free access.
Past event - 2024
13 May Doors open 7pm
Event starts 7.30pm
Event finishes 9.30pm
Head of Steam, 3 Reform Place, North Road,
Durham DH1 4RZ
Sold Out!
Exploring diverse topics from the importance of seaweed to the evolution of farming in ants and climate ethics, tonight you can enjoy three talks all centred on our beautiful green planet. 

What have seaweeds ever done for us?

Dr John Bothwell (Reader in Bioenergy)
Seaweeds don’t get the affection they deserve. A common name for them is wracks, which comes from the same root as the word ‘wreck’. But seaweeds aren’t wrecks: they are astonishingly diverse, vibrant, and important. Seaweeds provide the foundations for coastal ecosystems from the tropics to the poles, they support sparkling worlds of animal and microbial biodiversity, and they’re as integral to our shores as plants and trees are to dry land: if we want to understand the world around us, we need to recognize, respect, and appreciate the diversity of our seaweeds.
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Animals & Plants on the Move: Invasives or ‘Climate Refugees?’

Dr Simona Capisani (Assistant Professor of Environmental Philosophy)
Human-caused climate change, habitat destruction, and environmental shifts are impacting the ability of non-human species to move or stay in place. For these individuals to continue to exist, they either need to stay in their new habitat, have their current habitat modified, or move to a new habitat with the help of humans or on their own. But when plants and animals spill out past their traditional territory they are seen as, at best, non-native, and at worst, invasive. Do we have an obligation to help species in these cases? Should we shift traditional conservation norms to do so?
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Gimme Shelter: Ants Farming Plants

Laura Campbell (PhD student)
Agriculture has been central to the rise of the human-dominated world, consequently it is of great interest to us when we observe other species engaging in farming-like behaviours. Such behaviour has evolved repeatedly as seen in many species including bacteria, snails, damselfish and sloths. Until recently it was thought that the only examples of “true” agriculture outside of humans was in fungus farming by social insects. However, farming of plants by ants was recently discovered in Fiji,. We generate a database of plant cultivation by ants and show that these interactions evolved primarily for shelter rather than food. We find that plant farming has evolved 15 times in ants and consider how understanding these ants can help us understand the evolution of farming more widely.
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