The Island as the Origin of all Species

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 211

LUNCHTIME LECTURE 12:30–13:00 Wednesday 7 February 2018

Image © Linnean Society of London.

In conversation with Elaine Charwat, we will explore Linnaeus’s original Island, and plunder the archives and vaults of the Linnean Society of London for island sketches and specimens. We will provide a short introduction to the origins of modern scientific classification, and why islands were crucial for developing the discipline of biogeography and the theory of evolution. 

We will consider how concepts of islands as eggs and arks are more important than ever in times of unprecedented change in the natural world. But islands are volatile environments, which is why, like the Galápagos Islands, they were and still are places were evolution is turbo-charged, and can be observed in real time. On the other hand, this makes islands and island species very vulnerable. Papa Westray, one of the final places of refuge for the iconic Great Auk. It was also one of the places to witness its extinction — encapsulating a precariousness we are all having to face. 

Elaine Charwat MSc FLS has worked for many years with the Linnean Society’s collections as part of the Library and Collections Team. She has published various articles and given talks about collection projects and highlights. Her particular interests are art and science, conservation, and the rich evidence captured in source materials such as manuscripts, artworks, objects and specimens.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Registration is not essential, but to secure your place we recommend booking a ticket. 
  • Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Doors will open at 12:15.
  • Tea will be served in the Library following the event.