Viorel Popescu. (Provided photo)
Bobcats and bears and frogs, oh my! What do all these animals have in common? They are all facing challenges to their very existence because of direct human actions, such as overexploitation or habitat degradation, and big picture issues, such as climate change. They are also study organisms in Viorel Popescu’s Conservation Ecology Lab at Ohio University.
Popescu, assistant professor of conservation biology and a core faculty member in the College of Arts and Science’s sustainable studies theme, and his students are tackling hot topics in conservation biology by examining human impacts on animal populations in Ohio and beyond. Using field observations and laboratory experiments, supported by extensive statistics, Popescu and his team aim to develop practical solutions for conserving and managing animal populations in an ever-changing environment.
“The landscapes of our physical environment are not the only ones changing. To make significant contributions towards safeguarding species, we as scientists need to step outside our comfort zone and get a good grasp on the social, political and economic environments as well. Conservation needs solid scientific support, but decisions are ultimately driven by social desires, political will, and finances,” Popescu said.
In his Science Café, “Challenges for Conserving Biodiversity in a Changing World,” at 5 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 24, in the Baker Center Front Room Coffeehouse, Popescu will discuss the challenges and opportunities of studying and conserving animal populations. As part of the Café, he will reference studies conducted by his graduate students, including a glimpse into the secret lives of the real Ohio bobcats (#RealBobcatsofOhio @vioreldpopescu).
Science Cafés are part of Ohio University’s Café Series, Wednesdays at the Baker Center Front Room. The series provides a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty presenters, staff and the Athens community. Free coffee is offered to the first 50 attendees, and participants who ask questions can win a free t-shirt.
The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Sigma Xi.
Learn more! Watch the 1-minute Café Series video: