Life Science Hour Seminar Series

Name:Martin Robards
Title:This is Arctic Beringia: Perspectives on science and policy in a trilateral multicultural environment
Date:Friday, 30 November 2018
Location:Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium.


Arctic Beringia lies at the juncture of the eastern and western hemispheres. It encompasses an area of tundra and highly productive shallow marine shelf that extends from the Kolyma River in the Chukotka region of the Russian Federation, across northern Alaska, and as far east as Victoria Island in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of Canada. The region’s tundra, coastal, and marine habitats are home to most of what we would imagine as quintessential Arctic wildlife. A diverse array of indigenous cultures – including the Chukchi, Siberian Yupik, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Central Yup’ik, Iñupiat, Inuit, Athabaskan, and Aleut – have lived in the region for millennia, and are closely connected with, and reliant upon the region’s wildlife and environment for their food and cultural security. Rapid climate change, loss of summer sea ice, earlier springs, burgeoning industrial development, and profound social changes are currently altering the natural rhythms of wildlife and indigenous communities that call this place home. To address the conservation challenges associated with these broad changes, Wildlife Conservation Society is working to a) fill gaps in the best available science, b) use science as a diplomacy tool to develop relationships and trust for wildlife management across borders and cultures, and c) use creative communication approaches to share science. Our work on wolverines, musk oxen, migratory birds, coastal fisheries, and marine mammals will be used to illustrate these approaches.

About the Speaker:

Martin Robards is Regional Director of the Arctic Beringia Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is an accomplished marine ecologist and policy analyst who has worked extensively with indigenous communities and their representatives in the Arctic. Martin also worked for two years in Washington D.C., informing policy makers about the challenges of implementing regional-scale policies concerning the conservation of marine mammals in remote subsistence-dominated environments. His goal is to encourage the development and implementation of conservation policies that are more responsive to new scientific understandings, and the changes in ecological, social, and economic conditions of the Arctic. In particular, he seeks opportunities for indigenous hunters and their communities to actively engage with scientists to address topics of mutual interest. He has over 25-years of field experience, published over 40 scientific articles, served as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and is affiliate faculty with the University of Alaska.

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