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Darwin Day: Micro & Macroeconomics of “Endless Forms Most Wonderful” – Gary Greer

Date:
February 9, 2011
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The Sweet House
254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

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Organized by:
Jennifer Beahan
Phone: (616) 706-2029
Email: jbeahan@centerforinquiry.net

Description:

Celebrate Darwin Day 2011 with a lecture by Gary Greer on Micro- & Macroeconomics of “Endless Forms Most Wonderful”

Charles Darwin introduced selection, natural and artificial, as the sculpting process that reduces organismal diversity in the short term and increases diversity in the long term. The thrust of Darwin’s work on evolution was aimed at establishing that natural selection had operated throughout the history of life on Earth and continued to do so.

Although he did not understand the genetic basis of heredity or how new organismal variation was generated, he anticipated the restrictions that a particular body plan and the underlying mechanisms of heredity may impose on the variations that could be generated and subsequently exposed to selection. New permissible variations that increase an individual’s capacity to produce descendants relative to other members of its species are likely to proliferate through the action of selection and, in the simplest case, become a feature of all individuals in that species.

One facet of the interplay between the generation of permissible variation in form and selection is the functional relationship between surfaces and volumes. The evolution of organismal diversity has been constrained by the physical relationship between surfaces and volumes and natural selection has favored variations that maximize their functional relationship within these constraints.

Examples from plants will be used to illustrate these concepts and the insights they shed on the evolution of traits such as metabolic rate, lifespan, fertility, and ecological features such as succession and biodiversity.

Meetings are open to the Public. A moderated discussion will follow the lecture.

After the meeting, join us at Vitale’s Restaurant, 834 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI to socialize. View Map

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About Gary Greer, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology, Grand Valley State University

Gary Greer was born and raised in Greeley, CO. he received is Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology from the University of Northern Colorado (1987), he later received a Master’s of Science in Plant Biology at Humboldt State University in California (1993) and defended his Thesis on the “evolution of mating systems in a hybrid fern complex.” In 1997 Greer received his PhD in Environmental and Plant Biology from, Ohio University. His Doctoral Dissertation addressed “phenotypic plasticity as a determinate of ecological distribution in ferns.” He is currently Associate professor of Biology at Grand Valley State University, before coming to GVSU Greer was Assistant professor at West Virginia State University from 1997-2003. Dr. Greer is the Associate Editor, American Fern Journal,s and a peer-reviewer for scientific journals regarding plant ecology. His research interests address “the evolution and ecological importance of adaptive phenotypic plasticity in ferns and invasive plants; i.e., the ability of a genotype to match its phenotype (anatomy, physiology and behavior) to its environment such that its fitness is maximized.”