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 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: 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 now



Nat Talk: Delicious—The Evolution of Flavor

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 6 PM

The fermentation of mastodons, the stinkiest cheese in the world, a monkey that makes kombucha, and a question on all our minds: do insects taste things? We see the diversity of life primarily in terms of how it appears to our eyes, but that is just one part of our relationship to nature. The species around us have unique songsunique behaviors, and unique flavors.  

Dr. Rob Dunn is the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Applied Ecology. In this talk, Rob will discuss how these flavors have helped shape our evolutionary story. He will argue, building on his book with Monica Sanchez, Delicious, that the quest for more flavorful foods may have played a role in phenomena as diverse as the invention of tools, the first use of fire and even the origin of the most pungent cheeses. Rob will also share stories of the influence of flavor in the evolution of other animals. What flavors does your cat experience? Or your dog? And how much do they matter to them? Join us and find out.  

Participants in this conversation will be given a 30% discount code for Rob and Monica's book, Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human. 

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. 




Sobre cambio climático: Los árboles están calientes, muy calientes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 6 PM

Los efectos más notables que el cambio climático tiene en los árboles son en su crecimiento y sobrevivencia. Otros efectos son menos obvios y requieren un enfoque multidisciplinario para detectarlos. Por ejemplo ¿Sabes cómo el cambio climático afecta la reproducción sexual de los árboles? Más de lo que imaginas.

Desde la reproducción hasta las interacciones de los árboles con sus microbios, los efectos del cambio climático son tanto evidentes como sutiles. En esta plática, la Dr. Lluvia Flores-Renteria de San Diego State University hablará de ambos efectos que las plantas hacen frente al cambio climático y explicará la importancia de estudiar los factores genéticos y ambientales. También nos compartirá los estudios que los científicos usan para generar recomendaciones para la conservación y hablará de la importancia de trabajar con comunidades locales para lograr el éxito en programas de conservación de plantas. 

Esta es la edición de verano de nuestra serie sobre cambio climático. A lo largo del 2021, The Nat y el Climate Science Alliance te invitan a un curso intensivo sobre los efectos del cambio climático en nuestra región. Estas pláticas tomarán lugar cada durante el 2021 y profundizarán en la remarcable variedad de consecuencias que el cambio climático despliega. Entre más sabemos, mejor podemos responder a lo que está pasando. Únete y empodérate.

Reserva hoy



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.