Ivette Perfecto, the James E. Crowfoot Professor of Environmental Justice and Ecology at the University of Michigan, will deliver the 37th Odum Lecture at the Odum School of Ecology. Her talk, “Food Systems at a Crossroads: Producing Food and Conserving our Planet,” will take place Tuesday, April 4, at 4 p.m. in the Ecology Auditorium and via Zoom. The lecture, part of the UGA’s Signature Lecture Series, is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception. To receive the Zoom link, please sign up for the EcoSeminar listserv.
Perfecto, a 2022 electee to the National Academy of Sciences, studies the relationships between biodiversity and food production in an increasingly globalized economy. Her ongoing work has examined arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in rural and urban agriculture. She also explores the spatial ecology of coffee production from an ecological lens and is interested more broadly in the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty. Perfecto’s work has taken her to urban and agricultural landscapes in the neotropics and North America, including Puerto Rico, Mexico and Michigan.
She has authored or co-authored 269 peer-reviewed publications, including a 2020 study that linked an invasive snail to coffee leaf rust, a significant pest in coffee production.
In addition, Perfecto is co-author of four books: Breakfast of Biodiversity; Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty; Coffee Agroecology; and Ecological Complexity and Agroecology.
In 2015, Perfecto was elected a fellow of the Ecological Society of America. In 2012, she was elected a member of the Scientific Council of the Regional Institute of Biodiversity (IRBIO) for Central America and the Dominican Republic. She received the Ecological Society of America’s Diversity Award in 2011.
“We are honored to host Dr. Perfecto at UGA for the 2023 Odum Lecture and the UGA Signature Lecture Series,” said Sonia Altizer, interim dean and Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Ecology. “Her work is crucial for demonstrating how agricultural systems can serve as refuges for biodiversity and provide food and economic security for people—and her discoveries reveal the important connections between the well-being of both people and the planet.”
Honoring the founder of the Odum School of Ecology, the annual Eugene P. Odum Lecture Series features speakers who address significant ecological questions in broad social and intellectual contexts. Previous Odum lectures have been delivered by preeminent scholars including ecologists Mary Power, Thomas Schoener, Jim Brown and Stephen Pacala; evolutionary biologists Marleen Zuk and Hopi Hoekstra; botanist Peter Raven, conservation ecologists Gretchen Daily and Thomas Lovejoy; and then-director of the National Science Foundation Rita Colwell.
The Odum Lecture is supported in part with funding from the Eugene P. and William E. Odum Endowment.
UGA’s Signature Lecture Series features speakers noted nationally or internationally for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. Many of the lectures are supported by endowments, while others honor notable figures and milestones in the university’s history. All Signature Lectures are free and open to the public.