2017 Humphreys Lecture Series to Look ‘Under the Pavement’

March 1, 2017

Clint Penick is an ecologist at North Carolina State University where he studies wildlife of cities. His focus however, is the wildlife found under the sidewalk: ants. Mary Baldwin University will host Penick as Mary Baldwin’s 2017 Humphreys biology lecturer where he will present “Under the Pavement: Exploring the Ecology of Cities” on March 16.

In his studies, Penick examines the diversity of ant populations in cities and the impact that human actions influence the success of urban species.

Although small and often unnoticeable, ants are far more prominent than people realize according to Penick. In Manhattan alone, there are nearly 2,000 ants for every human resident.

In addition to his ant studies, the ecologist also works with architects and urban planners in collaboration with the Bio-mimicry Center at Arizona State University to help design bio-diverse cities of the future.

An accomplished professional in his field, Penick has published more than 25 times in publications such as the Journal of Insect Behavior, American Entomologist, and the Journal of Comparative Physiology. After earning his undergraduate degree from Florida State University, Penick went on to receive his PhD in biology from Arizona State University.

“We’re all very excited about his visit in the department,” said Assistant Professor of Biology Mary Jane Epps, who is organizing this year’s lecture.

The lecture was established in 1992 in honor of Mary Humphreys, the late professor emerita of biology at Mary Baldwin for 25 years (1943–1968).  Today the lecture series brings notable scientists to campus to present public lectures and talk about their work while interacting with students, faculty, and staff.

The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Francis Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Nichols/YourWildlife.org