Stressors and Drivers of Food Security: Evidence from Scientific Collections

September 19, 2016


Like war and disease, food security has been a dominant factor in human history. Food security has fueled rapid growth in population size and its insecurity has led to the collapse of societies and mass migrations. Fluctuations in food security have been felt on many different timescales from short-lived famine to prolonged declines in staple crops, livestock and wild prey. Scientific collections in a variety of disciplines may contain overlooked evidence that could prove valuable to researchers involved in food security. As we learn more about the origins and characteristics of the species we select as food sources, the ways we have and can modify them to meet our needs, and the histories and causes of their changing abundance, we become better able to predict and protect our future food supply.

The symposium aims to take an ambitious look at lessons from history – not only to understand how humans and crops or livestock affect one another, but also to identify what drives food security and lack thereof. They are hoping to catalyze a conversation that connects work on early agriculture to the problem of how to feed over 9 billion people by 2050.

Symposium Goals: Building on discussions begun during SciColl’s e-Consultations, the symposium will illustrate how:

  • Scientific collections in different disciplines provide information and data for the most significant research and mitigation questions;
  • New tools and resources are needed to expand the network of collections used to address these questions; 
  • New funding opportunities and organizational behavior is needed to support the collections and researchers.




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