Cedar Creek: Birthplace of Biodiversity is presented by Dr. Caitlin Barale Potter.
Biodiversity loss, and the associated loss of ecosystem function and services, is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing humanity today. Luckily, the scientists of Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve are working hard to better understand the role diversity places in structuring communities so that we can address the crisis we face with real evidence and understanding. Cedar Creek, located in East Bethel MN, was the first place in the world to directly manipulate biodiversity as the variable of interest in a large-scale, long-term experiment. Since the early 1990s, we have been uncovering new and surprising ways in which biodiversity influences other aspects of ecosystems including productivity, nutrient and water cycling, competition, survival, adaptability to changes in CO2 and temperature, and much more. Dr. Caitlin Barale Potter, Cedar Creek’s education and community engagement coordinator, will provide an overview of Cedar Creek’s biodiversity experiments and discuss some of their most consequential results so far.
Dr. Caitlin Barale Potter received her B.S in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology from the University of California at Davis, and her M.A. and Ph.D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. She has conducted field work and taught ecology all over the world, including stints in Belize, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya and Borneo. At Cedar Creek, she contributes to a wide variety of research projects (primarily focusing on wildlife) and leads the reserve’s education and community programs.