For Immediate Release
Contact: David Jwanier, media relations associate, 610-740-3790

Evolution Expert to Discuss ‘Why Animals Live Where’ at Cedar Crest College  

Allentown, Pa. (Jan. 10, 2013)—Ever wonder why some animal species thrive around the globe, while others seem confined to comparatively tiny geographical areas?

Leslie Rissler, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences and curator of amphibians and reptiles at the University of Alabama, will address this subject and much more when she delivers the 2013 Darwin Day Lecture at Cedar Crest College on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. in the Samuels Theatre, Tompkins College Center. The program is free to the public.

Rissler’s research, which integrates ecology, evolution, biogeography, and conservation, focuses on the factors that influence species’ ranges and biodiversity conservation. Her research on amphibian distributions in Alabama was featured in the April 2009 issue of Bioscience.

Cedar Crest College Professor of Biological Sciences, Richard Kliman—who is organizing the 2013 Darwin Day Lecture—said of the program: “Dr. Rissler is really an ideal speaker for a Darwin Day event. Her research shows how understanding evolution allows us to better understand why species live where they do, and how their distributions in the future could be affected by changing climate. She is also very active in outreach to schools and to the general public, contributing to a better collective understanding of conservation and evolution.”

In addition to her research, Rissler is heavily involved in outreach including the CAARE program (Conserving Alabama’s Amphibians and Reptiles through Education) for elementary, middle, and high schools, which calls attention to biodiversity and conservation in Alabama. She currently serves as a program director in the Division of Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Processes cluster, at the National Science Foundation.

Rissler earned her doctorate at the University of Virginia, and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

As a women’s college, Cedar Crest College recognizes the value and necessity of educating a greater number of women scientists to serve as stewards of our fragile planet. Each of the programs in our biological and chemical sciences departments provides both a strong background in the fundamental concepts of science, and prepares graduates for careers in industry or science education, additional graduate studies, or application to medical, dental or veterinary school.

Click here for more information on Cedar Crest's Darwin Day Lecture, or call 610-740-3791.

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