Introducing Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Conservation Inspired by Technology

Sun, 2011/12/04
International Congress for Conservation Biology, Auckland, New Zealand

This short course introduces participants to the emerging practice of biomimicry and its potential for engaging wider audiences with biological research.  Biomimicry is the practice of abstracting essential design lessons from biology, and applying these ideas to the innovation of healthier, more sustainable human technologies.  Non-toxic industrial adhesives inspired by marine mussels, energy efficient buildings based on the design of macrotermitine termite mounds, and anti-bacterial surfaces inspired by the skin of sharks, for example, are all recent biomimetic technologies in use today.  By exploring biological topics through the lens of biomimicry, researchers have the potential of reaching audiences traditionally less-interested in biology but more interested in the human-built environment (technologists, engineers, architects, etc.). 

Biomimicry is a significant new theme with which to communicate with and inspire the public about the importance of specific biological research and biodiversity conservation in general, but it remains largely untapped by conservation biologists.  The short course intends to familiarize participants with the concept of biomimicry, and provide participants with access to methodologies, tools and resources to employ biomimicry in their own research and communications with the public in order to generate greater support for biological research and conservation.

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