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


Nat Talk: Fantastic Bees and How to Save Them

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 7 PM

Abejas fantásticas y cómo salvarlas

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. Habrá interpretación simultánea español.

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.

Abejas fantásticas y cómo salvarlas | Miércoles 26 de mayo del 2021 a las 6 pm

El sur de California es el hogar de una increíble diversidad de abejas nativas, las cuales sirven como las principales polinizadoras de la mayoría de nuestras especies de plantas. Escuche más sobre este tema con el ecólogo, Dr. James Hung y aprenda como es que las abejas nativas viven sus vidas, la cual es muy diferente a la de la más conocida abeja melífera. 

San Diego es un punto importante de biodiversidad global en peligro de extinción – lo cual quiere decir que hay una gran diversidad de vida salvaje que está constantemente amenazada. Descubre más sobre los retos a los que las abejas nativas se están enfrentando en este mundo que cada día es más dominado por los humanos, y lo que puedes hacer para ayudar a los ecólogos/as y biólogos/as de conservación para proteger el futuro de estos hermosos y muy importantes miembros de nuestra comunidad biológica. Claro, toda esta charla sobre las abejas estará acompañada con fotografías impresionantes de polinizadores en acción. Salvemos a las abejas. El idioma oficial de la lectura será el inglés. Habrá interpretación simultánea 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.

RSVP now | Reserva ahora



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.