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Biodiversity and the Sixth Extinction

Part of SciCafe

Birds eye view of large field of green. at the center is lung shaped made half of a forest the other half of deforestation

Earth is losing biological diversity at an unprecedented rate. Could this lead to the collapse of Earth’s habitats and ecosystems? What might that mean for humanity? Curator Joel Cracraft presents the evidence, drawing from his experiences in Earth’s tropical forests, and outlines the difficult challenges ahead.

This SciCafe occured on December 6, 2017. Listen to the full program in this podcast, or watch a video version here:

About the Speaker

Joel Cracraft

Joel Cracraft is Lamont Curator of Birds and Curator-in-Charge of the Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History.  His main research investigates the evolutionary and biogeographic history of birds.  He has long been engaged in biodiversity and science policy.  He served on the Scientific Steering Committee of the international biodiversity science program Diversities.  And, he was a member of the Biodiversity Panel for President Clinton’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology as well as on various committees of the National Research Council.  He also served as an advisor to the American Civil Liberties Union at the Arkansas creation trial in 1981.

Study More

  • Watch the ShelfLife episode that explores how cryptic species help decode biodiversity in ecosystems under threat.
  • Peruse a recent publication on world scientists’ warning to humanity.
  • Science Magazine article stressing major transformative changes in the global economy are necessary to reduce humanity’s environmental footprint to sustainable levels.
  • A publication on evolutionary biology in biodiversity science, conservation, and policy. See reading materials below. 
  • Read “Seeing the World as it Really Is: Global Stability and Environmental Change”. See reading materials below.

Reading Materials


The SciCafe series is proudly sponsored by Judy and Josh Weston.