Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This lecture series honours Professor Dennis H. Chitty for his outstanding contributions to Population Biology and to the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia.
Dennis Chitty came to Canada from the United Kingdom in 1930 and obtained a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1935. He returned to the United Kingdom and received an M.A. (1947) and D. Phil. (1950) from Oxford University, where he began studies with Charles Elton in the Bureau of Animal Population. He remained at Oxford until 1961, at which time he was appointed to the University of British Columbia.
Professor Chitty's research focused on understanding population cycles in small mammals. He quickly found that the conventional explanations of these fluctuations could not fit with the growing body of data on British voles. He proposed a novel explanation (now known as the Chitty Hypothesis of Population Regulation) that the cycles are self-generated by the interactions between individuals. He also proposed that the changes in behaviour and physiology that prevent population growth and lead to decline might have a genetic basis. His idea was the first to link evolutionary change to population phenomena and it generated decades of research into the roles of individual quality, genetics, and behaviour in population dynamics of animals.
Professor Chitty was made the recipient of the Master Teacher Award from the University of British Columbia in recognition of his excellence in teaching and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of his contribution to science in Canada. In 1988 he was awarded the Fry Medal of the Canadian Society of Zoology which honoured both him and the memory of Dr. Fred Fry with whom Professor Chitty had worked in the Ontario Fisheries Research Laboratory, 1932-1935. He formally retired from teaching in 1978 when he became Professor Emeritus. In 1995 he received a D.Sc. from Oxford University.
Dennis died on 3 February 2010 at the age of 98, still interested in population ecology and enthusiastic about students.
See Chitty Lecture 2022 announcement
Previous Dennis H. Chitty Lecturers
|Year||Lecturer||Title of seminar|
|2023||Allison Louthan||Global variation in the impacts of climate vs. species interactions for population performance|
|2022||Andrew Gonzalez||Biodiversity science for the Anthropocene|
|2021||Tadashi Fukami||Making sense of messy communities|
|2019||Simon Hart||How diversity within species affects the maintenance of species diversity|
|2018||Jean Polfus & Frederick Andrew||Ɂełexé Eghálets’eda (Learning Together): Advancing sustainable conservation through cross-cultural collaboration|
|2017||Ben Gilbert||Species diversity: Reconciling the effects of ecological drift and species differences|
|2016||Valerie McKenzie||Emerging disease affecting wildlife: from the global scale to the microbial scale|
|2016||Rosemary Gillespie||Island Time and the Interplay between Ecology and Evolution in Species Diversification|
|2015||Heike Lotze||Ecosystem consequences of past and present changes in marine biodiversity|
|2014||Tom Schoener||Evolution + Ecology = EvoEco: The Interplay of Evolutionary and Ecological Dynamics|
|2013||Nelson Hairston||Hutchinson’s “Ecological Theater” as Improv: Eco-Evolutionary Responses to Environmental Change|
|2012||Andy Derocher||Polar Bears in a changing Environment|
|2011||Steve Palumbi||Hot and sour soup: adaptation of marine life in the face of climate change|
|2010||Kate Smith||Global environmental change, disease emergence, and the timely birth of conservation medicine|
|2009||Anurag Agrawal||Comparative tests of plant defense theory|
|2008||Marlene Zuk||Rapid evolution in silence: the causes and consequences of signal variation|
|2007||Robert D. Holt||Niche conservatism, evolution, and applied ecology: challenges and opportunities|
|2006||Anthony Ives||Phylogenetic signal in host-parasitoid associations & Diversity and biological control of aphids|
|2005||David Schindler||Climate Change, Human Use, and Freshwaters of the Western Prairies in the 21st Century|
|2003||Kay Hollekamp||Unusual reproductive strategies in the spotted hyena|
|2002||William Sutherland||Linking behaviour, ecology and conservation|
|2002||Rudy Boonstra||90th Birthday Seminar - Life in the Fast Lane: Environment-dependent Senescence in Voles|
|2001||Joe Travis||Untangling the Ecological and Genetical Influences on Population Dynamics|
|2000||James Brown||The scale of life: Body size, organism function, and biodiversity|
|1999||Rudi Drent||Cyclic Grazing in Vertebrates: the feeding ecology of migratory geese|
|1998||Sharon Kingsland||Theory versus history: learning from past debates in population biology|
|1997||Gail R. Michener||Sex and the single squirrel: sexual differences in behavioural and physiological ecology of Richardson's ground squirrels|
|1996||Werner Baltensweiler||Genetic differentiation and population dynamics in the Larch Budmoth, Zeiraphera diniana Gn|
|1995||Michael Rosenzweig||Elementary my Dear Watson! How species accumulate in space and time|
|1994||Robert Ricklefs||Development of senescence in birds|
|1993||Nicholas B. Davies||Chick feeding rules and their exploitation by cuckoos|