Subject: Speaker Series - Joseph A. Cook - September 1st 5:30 PM, Natsagdorj library

ACMS Speaker Series
 Building Scientific Research Infrastructure for Mongolia: The Role of Natural History Collections in Biodiversity and Human Health Studies 
Speaker: Joseph A. Cook

5:30 PM, Tuesday - September 1st, 2015, Library of American Corner, Ulaanbaatar public library

Understanding the history of biogeographic connections between Asia and North America provides a critical foundation for studies of biodiversity and human health. Over the past three decades we have built natural history specimen collections of mammals and associated parasites from Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Mongolia that provide a powerful basis for a number of scientific studies. Because our planet is changing rapidly, natural history specimens are now essential baselines for the study of changing conditions. Each specimen provides a baseline sample because it represents a unique individual and species at a particular place (spatial) and time (temporal). These samples are necessary for understanding changing environments, especially when scientists use new technologies (GIS, stable isotopes, genomic analyses) to explore the fields of biodiversity discovery, biogeography, genomics, morphology, ecology, vector biology, and emerging zoonotic pathogens. Support for ensuring preservation of records generated in various research efforts should be a national priority for Mongolia. In the near future, we need to work together to help build a development plan for natural history collections for Mongolia (including training the next generation of Mongolian biologists) so that Mongolians will continue to benefit from the distinctive, long-term contributions of natural history museums. Developing this infrastructure depends on broader engagement and support from across scientific, educational, business, and international communities, and is both an ethical and scientific imperative given the rapidly changing environmental conditions on our planet. 

Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar 
About the Presenter

  About the Speaker: Joseph A. Cook

He is Professor of Biology and Director and Curator of Mammals and Genomic Resources, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico. His research in the Arctic (and Mongolia in 2010, 2011, 2015) built large museum collections (traditional and genomic) that are digitally web-accessible. His research focuses on conservation, molecular evolution and systematics of mammals and associated parasites, producing >145 peer-reviewed publications, including the Recent Mammals of Alaska. Most recently, he co-founded Collaborative Integrated Investigations of Arctic Biomes to engage local communities, resource managers, and scientists to explore the relationships between environmental change, natural resource management, and human health at high latitudes in Asia and North America.   

For more information visit the ACMS website

Thank you to the American Corner and the Natsagdorj Library for sponsoring this event.


The American Center for Mongolian Studies is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting scholarship in Mongolian Studies.

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