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Join the Experts for some Wildtalk-at-Bristol

Press release issued: 16 October 2001

Join the Experts for some Wildtalk-at-Bristol

Do you know how many species are on the planet today? Have you got any idea how many have existed since the beginning of time or the number that will still exist in fifty years' time? This autumn join the big biodiversity debate and find out the answers to all these questions and more, with Wildtalk-at-Bristol. Each Tuesday from 16 October to 30 November, the biggest names in science, natural history and broadcasting will reveal the latest scientific and environmental thinking about biodiversity, conservation and the variety of life on Earth.

Presented by at-Bristol, the Wildscreen Trust, the University of Bristol, the BBC Natural History Unit and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the lectures begin on 16 October with The Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society investigating Biodiversity: past, present and likely future? By looking at the number of living species have been recorded and how many still exist today, can we predict how much of our biological heritage will survive the next few hundred years? This lecture sets the scene for the rest of the series.

Voices from the past: lessons about biodiversity from Fossil records on 23 October sees Bristol University's Head of Earth Sciences, Professor Michael Benton, revealing how the fossil record can be brought to life, giving valuable insights into the origin of life, biodiversity and mass extinctions.

The BBC Natural History Unit's Alistair Fothergill gives the inside track on The role of the media in raising awareness of biodiversity on 30 October. Executive producer of this autumn's flagship natural history series, The Blue Planet, he reveals details of the scientific discoveries made during the making of this and other BBC Natural History Unit films.

On Tuesday 6 November, primates take centre stage with Ian Redmond, Chairman of the Ape Alliance examining The importance of flagship species in conservation: the plight of the great apes. Footage from Congo's Secret Chimps, Charlotte Uhlenbroek's journey to meet chimps that have never encountered humans and her investigation into the bushmeat trade will also be screened.

Plants provide the foundations on which almost all of the Earth's terrrestrial ecosystems are built. On Tuesday 13 November, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Professor Peter Crane will review the threats to plant diversity and the actions being taken to ensure the survival of plant species.

The series concludes with a panel discussion chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby on Tuesday 20 November. A potentially explosive, no-holds-barred debate is promised from the panel which includes Baroness Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency who also serves as vice president of the RSPB, Flora and Fauna International and patron of the Institute of Environmental and Ecological Research. Author of Life on a Modern Planet: A Manifesto for Progress, Richard North; natural history broadcaster, Chris Baines; Archie Montgomery, chair of the National Farmers' Union alternative crops working group and vice chair of their Environment Committee; and Bristol University's Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Sir John Beringer, member of the Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification, make up the other members. Questions for the panel to discuss are welcomed from members of the public as well as the audience and can be e-mailed, in advance, to with the heading 'Wildtalk'.

Each lecture takes place at 7.30 pm in the IMAX® Theatre at-Bristol. Tickets cost £6.50 for individual lectures or £30 for the series. They are available from Dr David Hill, University of Bristol, School of Biological Sciences, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG. Tel: 0117 928 9135 or fax: 0117 925 7374. Cheques should be made payable to the University of Bristol and be sent with an SAE.

For more information contact Sonja Johnston in the at-Bristol press office. Tel: 0117 915 7152, fax: 0117 915 7200 or e-mail:

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Tuesday, 16-Oct-2001 11:11:45 BST

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