Scientific surveys set 'lightning' talks

Scientific surveys set 'lightning' talks

A "Lightning Symposium" — as in quick, not thunder — will showcase the diverse work of the state scientific surveys later this week.

Scientists from the Prairie Research Institute will present 36 five-minute talks and 23 posters about their work at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

The 2012 Prairie Lightning Symposium is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., C.

Topics include the 2012 drought, carbon sequestration, Asian carp and the dogs of ancient Illinois.

Faculty, staff, students and the public can drop by for an hour or stay for the day.

Talks, posters, networking and refreshments will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a reception is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. with music by Big Bluestem.

Spokeswoman Libby Johnston said the first Lightning Symposium was held last year, primarily to help the several hundred researchers at the five institutes share their work with each other in an informal setting.

The short format makes for straightforward, easily understandable talks that are also suitable for a general audience, she said. Presenters are limited to 20 slides, each of which appears for 15 seconds, for a total of exactly five minutes.

Among the talks:

— "Pioneering Change from the Ground Up," by Sallie Greenberg, assistant director of the Geological Survey's Advanced Energy Technology Initiative, who will discuss the viability of carbon capture and storage.

— "Foodweb Effects of Asian Carp in the Illinois River," by Jonathan Freedman, a postdoctoral research associate at the Natural History Survey, who found that the highly invasive Asian Carp is having a profound effect on fish communities in the Illinois River.

— "The 2012 Agriculture Drought in Illinois," by State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Water Survey, who will cover the development of the drought, its impact and comparisons with past droughts.

— "Dogs and their people in ancient Illinois," by Joe Galloy, research coordinator at the Archeological Survey, whose analysis of dog burial sites in southwestern Illinois revealed that "a dog's life" changed markedly over the millennia, from hunters and pack animals to sacrificial victims and food.

— "Two Centuries On: Illinois and the War of 1812," by Mark Branstner, cultural resource archaeologist at the Archaeological Survey, who will introduce the audience to the rediscovered Fort Johnson/Cantonment Davis site near Warsaw.

Joseph Galloy, Illinois State Archaeological Survey

— "Rediscovering a Lost City," also by Galloy, an update on the once-mighty American Indian city of Cahokia, circa 1100, near St. Louis. Five years of Archaeological Survey excavations have exposed sprawling, densely populated, and wellpreserved prehistoric residential neighborhoods that provide new insights into life 900 years ago.

For a full program of events and more information, call 265-4677 or check