Lecture Notes

The Science Behind “A Thousand Invisible Cords”
An Introduction to Community and Ecosystem Genetics

In a series of five lectures (with more than 100 slides and their associated references), the film’s science advisor, NAU Regents’ Biology Professor Thomas G. Whitham explains the science that informs the film. These lectures emphasize interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and the basic and applied implications of community and ecosystem genetics.

Some of the topics and concepts covered include:

  • understanding  how genes in foundation plant species have cascading effects on the community and ecosystem that are relevant to issues of genetically modified organisms,
  • conserving biodiversity,
  • mitigating climate change, and
  • restoring habitats.

These lectures are suitable for upper-division undergraduate/graduate university courses in Biology, Genetics, Community Ecology, Conservation and Community Genetics. The importance of interdisciplinary studies is emphasized.


Please download the .pdf file if you experience issues with the Powerpoint presentation.

  • Northern Arizona University
  • National Science Foundation
  • University of Tasmania
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Merriam Powell Cemter for Environmental Research