The MƒA Thursday Think Speaker Series brings accomplished speakers who dive into cutting-edge topics in STEM education to MƒA. These talks, held once a month throughout the school year, invite MƒA teachers and the general public to learn and engage with these thought leaders and professionals in mathematics, science, and education.

Dragonflies and damselflies are among the earliest flying animals—before birds, before bats, before pterosaurs, the first animal to fly was something dragonfly-like! Existing for over 250 million years, they have evolved fascinating behaviors for mating, egg-laying, flight, and communication. Such behaviors have enthralled humans for millennia, with dragonflies and damselflies commonly featured in stories, music, art, and fashion across human cultures. In this talk, Dr. Jessica Ware will give an overview of our current knowledge of these remarkable insects, presenting new molecular estimates for damselfly and dragonfly evolution that tell us more about the evolution of flight. She’ll also discuss how human-driven climate change has led to a steady decline in these and all insect species and will provide guidance on how to best protect these colorful creatures and their kin.

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