The Year of Biodiversity and Conservation

ssues of our time," says John McCarter, President of The Field Museum. "Our scientists are the unsung heroes of conservation, working behind the scenes in laboratories and at field sites around the world to shed light on the global status of biodiversity and identify the most threatened habitats."

The Field Museum is grateful for the generous support of the City of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, Mayor and Department of Environment, N. Marcia Jimenez, Commissioner.

The Year of Biodiversity and Conservation kicks off September 21 with Chicago's first "Race to Stop Global Warming" and a fun-filled day of events at The Field Museum. Jennifer McElwain, Ph.D., Curator of Fossil Plants in the Department of Geology, is the featured scientist for September. McElwain studies fossil plants from 400 million years ago to the present to explore the relationship between global warming and changing levels of carbon dioxide. Her 2 p.m. lecture on September 21 will focus on a recent National Geographic Society-funded expedition to Greenland. (Editors note: see "Kickoff Day" and monthly program sheets for more information on events, exhibitions, and featured scientists.)


Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the amazing variety of life on Earth from genes to species to entire ecosystems. The greatest biodiversity is found near the Equator due to its warm climate and wide variety of habitats. As a result, much of The Field Museum's biological collections and research are focused on the equatorial zones of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Jun Wen, Ph.D., Curator in the Department of Botany, studies Asian plants that are economically important, yet threatened by over-harvesting. Her research is focused on ginseng, a flowering plant used in many Asian countries as a strengthening tonic for the weak. "Nowadays, you can hardly find any wild ginseng," says Wen. "We have to develop strateg

Contact: Greg Borzo
Field Museum

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