Easter Island: 15,000 years of New Discoveries
with Candace Gossen, PhD, assistant professor, University Studies Department at Portland State University
For the past 10 years, paleoecologist Candace Gossen has cored the ancient crater lakes on Easter Island. Challenging the current theory that humans cut down the forests and caused their own demise, Candace wanted to know if there was another reason like climate change, drought, insects, or something else yet unknown that may have caused the disappearance of the largest palm trees in the world. Before 1980 there was no evidence that any tree existed on this island ever.
In 1920, Carl Skottsberg, a naturalist sailing the South Pacific Islands, conducted the first survey of the plants and living things on the island. He found what most explorers landing in the 1700s wrote about as a barren grassland with no trees standing over 10' tall. However, Skottsberg claimed this island should be anything but a grassland, something was wrong. He called the crater lake, Rano Kao a "somewhat dangerous quagmire which cannot be bored with usual methods."
Come find out what Candace has discovered, see videos of her coring adventures and hear the real story of Easter Island.
Candace is a scientist, artist, storyteller and teacher. However she says she is just a girl that likes to dig in the dirt and climb trees. When her son was born she began to see the world in a different way and her mission became strong to save the trees so that her son, and all the generations to follow would wonder and ponder the lightening bugs just as she had once done.
Candace received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at Portland State University in 2011. She has taught in the University Studies Department since 2002 and currently teaches Environmental Sustainability.
Science Pub-Mission Theater is a monthly event open to anyone aged 21+ (or minor with adult). No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge!
$5.00 suggested cover charge. Tell your friends. We hope to see you there!
Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.omsi.edu/sciencepub for a description of upcoming topics.