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Harvard Paleobiologist to Deliver Ludwick Lecture

Andrew Knoll

Andrew H. Knoll, a paleobiologist on the faculty of Harvard University who is ranked as one of the leading geoscientists in the world, will deliver the 2012 Ludwick Lecture at Old Dominion University on Thursday, April 12.

Knoll's presentation will be on systems paleobiology, delving into the evolution of life, the evolution of Earth surface environments, and the relationship between the two. It will begin at 3 p.m. in Room 200 of the Oceanography and Physical Sciences Building. The annual Ludwick Lecture, named for Jack Ludwick, former director of the Institute of Oceanography at ODU, is free and open to the public.

At Harvard, Knoll is the Fisher Professor of Natural History and professor of earth and planetary sciences. He also is curator of the paleobotanical collections at the Harvard University Herbaria. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

In his lecture at ODU, Knoll will explain how paleontologists have come to appreciate the relationship between our increasing knowledge of Earth's dynamic physical history and our ability to interpret the history of life.

Physiology constitutes the proximal interface between organisms and their environment. Systems paleobiology uses physiology as the conceptual bridge between the narrative history of life documented by fossils and the environmental history geochemically encrypted in sedimentary rocks. Knoll's research also shows that the geologic record provides critical input into research on contemporary global change.

In 2007 Knoll was awarded the Wollaston Medal, the highest award granted by the Geological Society of London. A previous recipient was Charles Darwin. He also won the 2005 Paleontological Society Medal and a 2003 Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in science for his "Life on a Young Planet."

Each year the Ludwick Lecture Series brings a leader in ocean, earth or atmospheric sciences research to the ODU campus to interact with students and faculty in small groups, and with local residents at a lecture of broad community interest.

For more information about the Ludwick Lecture, contact Nora Noffke, associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, at nnoffke@odu.edu. Knoll, who is being hosted by Noffke, was her adviser at Harvard when she did postdoctoral work there in 2000-01.

This article was posted on: April 9, 2012

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