Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Interdisciplinary Studies

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Gordon Luikart

Commitee Members

Soazig Le Bihan, David Cody, Pamyla Stiehl, Sean Hoban


Anthropocene, biodiversity, conservation, environmental philosophy, musical theatre, science communication


University of Montana


The driving questions of this dissertation consider both the scientific and communicative understanding of conservation and extinction in the Anthropocene. Overall, this dissertation portfolio explores this topic via genetic and genomic data, international policy, big data analytics, human values, and the performing arts. Chapter 1 analyzes the use of genetics and genomics in conservation, finding multiple case studies within and outside of peer-reviewed journals. Chapters 2 and 3 quantify and describe the use of genetic principles and tools in a global species extinction risk assessment, the IUCN Red List, and finds low overall use but high potential for genetics to improve risk assessments and facilitate conservation. Chapter 4 reviews and synthesizes the use of big data analytics in biodiversity conservation including tools, processes, case studies, and caveats. Chapter 5 extends the conservation toolbox to include philosophy of the Anthropocene, and both questions and qualifies the uniqueness and demarcation of a current sixth mass extinction in terms of extinction rates and human involvement in species loss. Chapter 6 addresses conservation via media products and science communication through a five-part video mini-series on the intersection of philosophy and climate change (, a YouTube channel focused on life on Earth (, and an internationally produced podcast featuring voices of less common stories of biodiversity conservation ( Finally, Chapter 7 considers the performing arts within the context of its own extinction due to COVID-19 and uses two case studies to demonstrate the use of science and technology to conserve performance art during the pandemic. This dissertation demonstrates the use of science, philosophy, and communication as an approach for conservation of both biodiversity and human cultural phenomena, while recognizing that in the Anthropocene, most conservation work begins and ends with human conversation.


© Copyright 2021 Brittany Alyse Garner