Winged Sentinels: How Birds Are Coping with Climate Change; Animal Research–Why We Need It & Who it Helps; Pharmacy History in Wisconsin

Explore the Unknown!
For October 6, 2021            
Hi WN@TL Fans,
Birds, being flighted and far-sighted, seem to be the envy of humans.  Daedalus escaped and Icarus died emulating the feathered ones. Humans with acuity & foresight are dubbed hawk-eyed or eagle-eyed. Travelers-by-land stew in jealousy when we measure distances “as the crow flies” knowing that while the corvids dart arrow-straight from the start, we humans will be winding our bipedal way across pitch and ditch, enduring a serpentine slog through a bog, meandering through meadow and marsh.
We use birds to mark the current time, to anticipate that which is to come, to presage behavior.  Thus, the cuckoo proclaims the hour and the chanticleer announces the dawn.  The owl inquires and the raven quotes. The robin heading north is our harbinger of spring; the literate Canada geese V-ing south etches in the autumn sky their tell-tale mark of fall.   The ostrich hides its head in fear in the sands; the phoenix rises in defiance from the ashes.
But one avian metaphor is no mythical or literary construct, but rather it sprang from a genuine human invention:  the canary in the coal mine. The bird’s physiology makes it more susceptible than humans to deadly carbon monoxide gas in the air we breathe. Their greater vulnerability made canaries an early warning system, but unlike Mel Blanc’s talkative Tweety, these birds were a silent klaxon alerting miners to impending deadly conditions.
The metaphor and the reality continue with this week’s talk, except this time the birds are giving us early warning not of methane per se but rather of the impacts of the higher temperatures and changing climates resulting from methane and other greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.

On October 6 we re-sound the tocsin of what Jonathan Patz now calls The Climate Crisis as Benjamin Zuckerberg of the Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology speaks on Winged Sentinels: How Birds Are Coping with Climate Change.”

Description:  The evidence that wildlife are responding to modern climate change is now overwhelming. There is strong scientific consensus that environmental tipping points are being crossed, and many species are adapting (or failing to adapt) to novel climatic conditions. Birds serve as the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to climate change. For this presentation, I will cover how birds are responding to a rapidly changing climate as well as extreme events. From changes in behavior to range-wide shifts, birds are the winged sentinels of modern climate change.  
Bio:  Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Zuckerberg arrived a bit late to the wonderful world of ecology. He was, however, lucky enough to start studying birds as an undergraduate at Connecticut College, and went on to receive his Masters from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Ph.D. from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry where her focused on studying range shifts in bird distributions as a consequence of climate change. He then spent three great years as a postdoc and research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Dr. Zuckerberg joined the faculty at UW-Madison in 2011 and has built a lab focused on studying how modern climate change impacts birds and mammals. He remains a strong advocate for the role of the public in collecting data on wildlife and feels that citizen science has opened entirely new fields in ecological research.

On October 13 Allyson Bennet of Psychology examines two key questions in her talk entitled “Animal Research: Why We Need It and Who It Helps.” 
Description:  To understand how we and other animals learn and our brains process information, to develop vaccines for new diseases and new treatments for old ones, animal research plays key roles. Animal research has underpinned a wide range of discoveries that benefit us, other animals, society, and the environment. Here at UW–Madison, research has contributed to studies of animals in the wild, of companion animals like our dogs and cats, of agricultural animals and more. In this talk I will cover some of the basic facts about animal research, focusing on why we study animals and some of the core concepts in decision-making. 
Bio:  Allyson Bennett, PhD is a developmental biopsychologist in the Psychology Department at UW-Madison and the Faculty Director of the UW-Madison Animal Program. Her research expertise is in comparative studies of behavioral and neural development. A complementary aim of Dr. Bennett’s research addresses the need for empirical evidence to inform evolving policies and practices in care of and research with animals in a range of captive settings, including laboratories, zoos, sanctuaries, and shelters. She has extensive experience and expertise in regulations for animal research. A core part of Dr. Bennett’s work reflects commitment to engaging in public education and dialogue to advance understanding and informed decision-making about public interests in humane and ethical scientific research.   

On October 20, as part of National Pharmacy Week,  Lucas Richert of the School of Pharmacy will speak on “Pharmacy History in Wisconsin: Science, Society, and Psychedelics.”

Description:  The history of pharmacy tradition in Wisconsin, which was initiated over a century ago, began with a belief that science should be taught alongside the humanities. This talk will share the unique story of innovation, interdisciplinarity, and the struggle to blend scientific training with the liberal arts at the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy. In the face of contemporary developments in psychedelic science and medicine on the UW campus, it is a tradition that continues to have relevance today. This talk will also provide an understanding of the Madison-based American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) and share some of the most interesting collections and specific items that might help scientists and historical researchers make strides together in the years ahead.

Bio:  Lucas Richert is George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is also the Historical Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. His recent publications include Cannabis: Global Histories (The MIT Press, 2021) and Break on Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture (The MIT Press, 2019). 

Remember, we’ve now shifted to Hybrid so we can both Zoom and gather in one Room—Room 1111 Genetics Biotech Center, 425 Henry Mall, Madison WI.  
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Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H