Talks and Lectures

Nat Talks, made possible with support from presenting sponsor The Downing Family Foundation and media partner KPBS, feature museum staff and outside experts speaking on an array of topics, including the latest in scientific research, history, conservation, and the natural world.

Climate Change Series
New for 2021, The Nat and Climate Science Alliance are collaborating to offer a series of evening talks and daytime lessons around climate change. Taking place each quarter, these events dive into the complex topic of our changing climate. The more we know, the better we can respond to what is happening. Join and be empowered.

Purchase tickets by clicking on the link associated with each event. To view recoded talks and lectures, visit our YouTube playlist. Please note that all talks are offered in local time (PST/PDT).

Upcoming Events


Highlights from the 2021 State of Biodiversity 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 6 PM

Lo más destacado del Estado de la Biodiversidad 2021


How does the border impact our region’s ecosystems? What do declines in biodiversity mean for human disease? How can we prepare for major changes in California’s future? And, in asking these questions, is there hope to be found? Several experts recently weighed in. This is the short version.  

El idioma oficial de la lectura será el inglés. Habrá interpretación simultánea español.

Thinking about the state of our region’s biodiversity can get pretty emotionally and mentally rough. But with climate change and the environment back on the national agenda, a renewed optimism shined through this year’s State of Biodiversity Symposium. This multi-week event was an online gathering of scientists, students, and biodiversity enthusiasts. Missed it? Never fear! At this special Nat Talk, the Museum’s Vice President of Science and Conservation Dr. Michael Wall will summarize key highlights from the meeting. Join us to explore not only the challenges but the stories that make us hopeful in binational biodiversity, pandemic-era science, and statewide conservation efforts.

For more details on the panels synthesized during this talk, head to the State of Biodiversity event page. And to view recordings of the original full sessions, check out the Museum’s YouTube channel. En YouTube, hay interpretación español. 

Note: you do not need to purchase tickets and do not need a Zoom account to attend the talk. Please consider supporting The Nat by selecting the $12 suggested ticket price at checkout. 

The talk will be in English with live Spanish interpretation. 

Lo más destacado del Estado de la Biodiversidad 2021

Miércoles 12 de mayo del 2021 a las 6 pm

¿Cómo es que la frontera afecta los ecosistemas de nuestra región? ¿Qué significado tiene la disminución de la biodiversidad con respecto a las enfermedades humanas? ¿Cómo podemos prepararnos para cambios significativos en el futuro de California? ¿Al hacernos estas preguntas, se puede encontrar esperanza? Varios expertos han dado su opinión al respecto recientemente. Esta es la versión corta.

Pensar en el estado de la biodiversidad en nuestra región puede ser emocionalmente y mentalmente difícil. Pero con el cambio climático y el medio ambiente de vuelta en la agenda nacional, un optimismo renovado resplandeció en el Simposio El Estado de la Biodiversidad de este año. Este evento, fue una reunión virtual entre científicos, estudiantes, y apasionados de la biodiversidad. ¿Se lo perdió? ¡No se preocupe! En esta Nat Talk especial, el vicepresidente de Ciencia y Conservación del museo, el Dr. Michael Wall sintetizará los puntos más importantes de la reunión. Acompáñenos para no solo explorar los retos, sino también las historias que nos dan esperanza sobre la biodiversidad binacional, la ciencia en la era pandémica, y en el esfuerzo de conservación en todo el estado.

Para más detalles sobre las ponencias sintetizadas en esta plática, diríjase a la página web del evento El Estado de la Biodiversidad. Para ver las grabaciones de las ponencias completas, el canal de YouTube del museo. En YouTube, hay interpretación en español.

Nota: No necesita comprar boletos, ni necesita una cuenta de Zoom para asistir a esta plática. Por favor, considere apoyar a The Nat seleccionando el boleto sugerido de $12 al realizar su orden.

El idioma oficial de la lectura será el inglés. Habrá interpretación simultánea español.

RSVP Today / Reserva Hoy



Nat Talk: Fantastic Bees and How to Save Them

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 7 PM

Southern California is home to an incredible diversity of native bees, which serve as the chief pollinators for most of our plant species. Hear from pollination ecologist Dr. James Hung and learn how native bees live their lives, which are very unlike the life of the familiar honey bee.

San Diego is an endangered global biodiversity hotspot – meaning there's a huge diversity of wildlife whose continued existence is under threat. Find out about the challenges native bees are facing in this increasingly human-dominated world, and what you can do to help ecologists and conservation biologists protect the future of these beautiful and critically important members of our biological community. Of course, all this talk about bees will be accompanied by some stunning photographs of pollinators in action. Let's save the bees.

Note: You do not need to purchase tickets and do not need a Zoom account to attend the talk. Please consider supporting The Nat by selecting the $12 suggested ticket price at checkout.

RSVP Today



Nat Talk Climate Series: Trees are Hot. Too Hot.

Wednesday, June 23, 6 PM

One of the most noticeable effects of climate change on trees is growth and mortality. Other effects are less obvious and require a multidisciplinary approach to be detected. For example, what does drought have to do with tree sexual reproduction? More than you might think. 

From reproduction to the plant-microbial interactions needed to survive, the effects of climate change are both glaring and subtle. In this talk, Assistant Professor Dr. Lluvia Flores-Renteria from San Diego State University will present the evident and less evident effects of climate change on plants and explain the importance of looking at both genetics and environmental factors. She will also share the approaches scientists use in order to provide recommendations to land managers and emphasize the need to include local communities in the preservation of our plant communities. The Nat is also pleased to offer this same talk with Lluvia in Spanish on July 7.

This is the summer edition of our climate change series. Throughout 2021, The Nat and Climate Science Alliance invite you to a crash course on the impacts of climate change in our region. These talks will take place seasonally and dive into the astoundingly varied consequences of our changing climate. The more we know, the better we can respond to what's happening. Join and be empowered.

Note: RSVP link coming soon. You do not need to purchase tickets and do not need a Zoom account to attend the talk. Please consider supporting The Nat by selecting the $12 suggested ticket price at checkout.




Nat Talk Climate Series: Fueling the Burn

September 2021

After a wildland fire burns through chaparral and coastal sage scrub, non-native grasses are the first to come back. These invaders are flammable and “flashy” fuels, often spreading flames faster than native plants in future burns. Even worse? As climate changes and these fires become more frequent, flashy grasses only expand further. So what can we do? Turn our eyes to the skies. 

Using satellite imagery, Krista West of San Diego State University maps grasses in Southern California shrubland ecoregions. This research helps us better understand the effects of climate change on shrublands, the consequences of grass invasion, and how these changes might affect the fire regime. Firefighters, geographers, ecologists, planners, and community members use the data to determine areas that may require mitigation or wildland restoration strategies before the start of a new wildland fire. Learn all about it in this special Nat Talk.

This is the fall edition of our climate change series. Throughout 2021, The Nat and Climate Science Alliance invite you to a crash course on the impacts of climate change in our region. These talks take place seasonally and dive into the astoundingly varied consequences of our changing climate. The more we know, the better we can respond to what's happening. Join and be empowered.

Note: RSVP link and a date will be announced soon. You do not need to purchase tickets and do not need a Zoom account to attend the talk. Please consider supporting The Nat by selecting the $12 suggested ticket price at checkout.




Nat Talk Climate Series: Rising Waters

December 2021

Whether you love or hate the feeling of sand between your toes, there’s no denying that the ocean and beach define San Diego’s identity. But our iconic coastline is threatened by climate change. To learn more about the changes we can expect and ways we can make our coastline more resilient, join our winter climate change talk with Laura Engeman from the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation and California Sea Grant at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 

This is the winter edition and final talk of our climate change series. Throughout 2021, The Nat and Climate Science Alliance invite you to a crash course on the impacts of climate change in our region. These talks take place seasonally and dive into the astoundingly varied consequences of our changing climate. The more we know, the better we can respond to what's happening. Join and be empowered.

Note: RSVP link and a date will be announced soon. You do not need to purchase tickets and do not need a Zoom account to attend the talk. Please consider supporting The Nat by selecting the $12 suggested ticket price at checkout.