Karen K Christensen-Dalsgaard, PhD

Dr. Christensen-Dalsgaard is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Science in the Department of Biological Sciences at MacEwan University, Edmonton. She specializes in aquatic ecosystem studies, ecological restoration, history of biology, microbial ecology and evolution, plant ecophysiology, plant stress biology, and soil root interactions.

Presentation: Humans as keystone species in the urban ecosystem – a new approach to sustainability

Humans are important members of the ecosystem, capable of creating healthier and more diverse habitats than those that are untouched by human activities. We are also capable of creating total wastelands. The average city will contain excellent examples of both. Based on the framework of urban ecology, we will explore why we should stop minimizing our ecological footprint and try to optimize it instead. Like all species on this planet, humans improve the habitat quality for some organisms in our ecosystem while deteriorating that of others. Unlike most other species, we are capable of understanding and predicting the impact that we have on the other members of our ecological community. This puts us in the unique position of being able to plan our approach to gardens and other greenspaces in a way that achieves specific ecological goals – if we choose to do so. Together, we will discuss not only why we should do that but also how.

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