How are the world’s nearly seven billion humans affecting ecosystems? And what effects do changing ecosystems have on humans? Population Impact highlights the research conducted by Carnegie scientists and their colleagues to examine how the choices humans make affect the world in which we live.
Population Impact focuses on real-world issues such as changes in the human population through history, urbanization, and the affect of human populations on plant and animal species conservation. Watch as the population map changes across the timeline of human history, explore the ways in which population growth affects four burgeoning global cities, and discover how changes in medicine and science alter populations.
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The exhibition focuses on the inquiries conducted by Carnegie scientists using the museum’s world-class specimen collections and in the field, including the documentation of animals and plants in the endangered mountain forests of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti). This ongoing effort has resulted in the discovery of new species as well as the identification of conservation priorities for these troubled ecosystems.
Population Impact also examines the research conducted at the museum’s environmental research center Powdermill Nature Reserve, where one of the country’s longest running bird-banding programs tracks bird migration and populations.
Carnegie botanist Cynthia Morton’s research into the trees of Pittsburgh’s parks and streets is a highlight of Population Impact. Learn how genetic diversity within these populations of trees may enhance their ability to withstand diseases or pests. Morton has discovered unnaturally low genetic diversity among several species of Pittsburgh’s trees, and these studies are among the innovative efforts to increase genetic diversity within nursery-grown tree stocks.
Addressing a highly debated issue in western Pennsylvania—white-tailed deer populations—Population Impact compares many viewpoints, such as whether the numerous white-tailed deer are victims of human population growth and whether deer herds are a nuisance that should be controlled and reduced.
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Visit Carnegie Museum of Natural History's research divisions to learn more about the work we do to inform conversations about critical conservation issues.