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UM News
October 22, 2013

MISSOULA – The University of Montana President’s Lecture Series will present a seminar and lecture by environmental scientist and Guggenheim Fellow Rafe Sagarin on Monday, Oct. 28.

Sagarin’s seminar, “Observation and Trust: Rethinking Environmental Science and Law for a Complex World,” will be held from 3:10 to 4:30 p.m. in Gallagher Business Building Room 123. His evening lecture, titled “Learning from the Octopus: How Observations of Nature are Transforming Science and Society,” will be held at 8 p.m. in the George and Jane Dennison Theatre. Both events are free and open to the public.

Sagarin is an associate scientist with the Institute of the Environment and a marine ecologist and environmental policy analyst at the University of Arizona. He brings his science background to the study of environmental philosophy and history, and is a leading figure in the shift in science from experimental to observational methods.

He previously taught at Duke University, California State University-Monterey Bay and the University of California-Los Angeles. At the University of Arizona, Sagarin studies responses of marine communities and wetlands to climate change, illegal fishing and pollution. He uses unusual data sets from writers, naturalists, artists and gamblers to reassemble historical patterns of ecosystem change.

He also directs a research group which uses biological evolution as a guide for improving societal security systems. In 2008, he co-edited the group’s book “Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World,” which applies lessons from nature to problems of global terrorism, infectious diseases and natural disasters.

Sagarin received a Guggenheim Fellowship in support of two books published in 2012: “Learning from the Octopus” and “Observation and Ecology, Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World.” He also worked as a Geological Society of America Fellow in the office of U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis. His work has appeared in Science, Nature, Conservation Biology, Ecological Monographs, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Foreign Affairs and more.

Sagarin’s evening lecture is the annual Brennan Guth Memorial Lecture and is presented in collaboration with the UM School of Business Administration and the College of Forestry and Conservation.

The President’s Lecture Series at UM consists of 10 talks on vital topics by distinguished guest speakers throughout the academic year. For more information on the series, visit or call UM history Professor Richard Drake at 406-243-2981.






Contact: Richard Drake, UM history professor and President’s Lecture Series organizer, 406-243-2981,