Hesburgh Lecture Series
Fresh water is arguably the planet's most imperiled resource, with more than one billion people lacking access to clean water and more than three billion people lacking sanitation for their waste. At a global scale, more than 50 percent of all fresh water is already used at least once by humans, and virtually every river now has major impoundments, with one or more major dams being completed every day on average. Aquifers are subsiding at an alarming rate because of groundwater extraction for irrigation and other human uses. Toxic chemicals ranging from metals to radionuclides to pharmaceuticals enter, accumulate, and biomagnify in fresh water habitats. As a result, fresh water biota is globally threatened, with fish, mussels, and crayfish being the most endangered groups of animals worldwide. Important vectors of human disease, such as mosquitoes, breed in degraded fresh waters in close proximity to humans, and invasive species compromise the integrity of fresh water ecosystems. In short, human and environmental well-being is dependent on the presence of high-quality and plentiful freshwater resources. How will the planet and human populations deal with this fresh water crisis, and what are possible solutions to ensuring a plentiful supply of clean fresh water for future generations?
Gary Lamberti is a professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. He received his doctorate from University of California (Berkeley) in 1983, and has been on the faculty at Notre Dame since 1989. Lamberti is an aquatic ecologist and environmental scientist whose research focuses on salmon biology, the ecology of invasive species, wetland conservation, and river restoration. At Notre Dame, Lamberti teaches biostatistics, stream ecology, and restoration ecology. He has authored more than 130 scientific publications, and has edited a book entitled Methods in Stream Ecology. Lamberti is also a past president of an international society of aquatic scientists. http://biology.nd.edu/people/faculty/lamberti/