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Suzanne Simard: “Trees Communicate Through Networks in Complex Adaptive Systems”

Thursday, May 20 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Virtual Event

Suzanne W. Simard is Professor of Forest Ecology in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on the complexity and interconnectedness of nature and is guided by her deep connection to the land and her time spent amongst the trees. She is specifically known for her work on how trees communicate and interact using below-ground fungal (mycorrhizal) networks. Simard’s work with her students led to the recognition that forests have hub trees, or Mother Trees, which are large, highly connected trees that play an important role in the flow of information and resources in a forest. Trees interact with their own and other species, including forming kin relationships with their genetic relatives. Her current research investigates how these complex relationships contribute to forest resiliency, adaptability and recovery, as well as implications for sustainable stewardship of forest ecosystems as climate changes. Simard is the author of Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (Penguin Random House, 2021). 

Free registration required.


Series Overview

What is Communication? (2021) will investigate instantiations and permutations of communication via models of exchange, modes of inquiry, and meanings of community. While communication has been conceptualized as models of transportation, transmission, and ritual communication is also characterized by modes of sharing, imparting, connecting, and participating. These characteristics can contribute to democracy, as well as facilitating the commons and community/fellowship. This year marks the sixth collaboration with scholars from the natural sciences, social sciences and arts.

Please see for more details and other featured keynotes.

The What is…? Speaker Series is sponsored by the Knight Chair in Communication Research, UO Women in Graduate Science, the Oregon Humanities Center, New Media and Culture Program, and the Department of Philosophy. Additional gratitude to our supporters.