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INHS Seminar - The resilience and character of an Anthropocene river

Event Type
Illinois Natural History Survey Seminar Committee
wifi event
May 4, 2021   4:00 pm  
Dr. Jason DeBoer, Large River Ecologist, Illinois River Biological Station, INHS
Dr. James Lamer
Originating Calendar
INHS Events

Be sure to log into Zoom before joining the seminar via the link at:

Meeting ID: 893 4777 4315 | Password: 134105


The study of disturbance in river ecosystems has a long and well-documented history that incorporates the theoretical concept of system equilibrium.  However, the increasing scope and intensity of human activities bring a new dimension to the concept of disturbance and ecosystems, which underscores the need to examine disturbances in river systems that are now highly modified by humans, i.e., disturbances in Anthropocene Rivers.  The multitude of stressors during the Anthropocene have pushed river ecosystems over a tipping point and into a new regime.  Thus, Anthropocene River character – their ecosystem structure, function, interactions, and heterogeneity – is fundamentally different from that of a natural regime.  Moreover, in this new regime, Anthropocene Rivers cannot return to the previous ‘pristine or natural’ regime, and have a lower capacity to adapt to future disturbances – that is, reduced resilience.  I use the complex and compelling history of the Illinois River to demonstrate a new paradigm for examining and understanding disturbance in river ecosystems.

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