The ecology of Hawaii's seabirds

Sheila Conant to speak at Downtown Speakers Program on November 10th

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Nov 3, 2005

HONOLULU — The Colleges of Arts & Sciences of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa continue their Downtown Speakers Program with a lecture on November 10, 2005 by zoology professor, Sheila Conant. Held from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM at the American Savings Bank Tower, 1001 Bishop Street, 8th floor, room 805, this lecture is FREE and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring brown bag lunches.

Hawaiʻi‘s Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to the largest breeding colonies of seabirds in the Pacific basin. In recent years populations of some of these species have suffered declines due to interactions with commercial fishing operations and the impact of non-native species. Until recently, seabird interactions with fishing activities have not been studied in detail. In addition, although it has been proven that predators such as rats and cats can devastate seabird populations, the impacts of less obvious invasive species, such as ants, have gone undocumented.

Just before leaving office, President Bill Clinton designated The Northwestern Hawaiian Island Coral Reef Reserve a federally protected area. Furthermore, Governor Linda Lingle recently designated the state waters around these islands as a protected marine sanctuary, and put in place a "no take" fishing regulation. Conant will address whether these actions have come too late to protect one of Hawaiʻi‘s most magnificent natural resources.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Conant is professor and chair of the department of zoology at UH Mānoa. Life history, ecology and conservation of Hawaiian birds have been the focus of her research for nearly 40 years. Working with graduate students and biologists from several wildlife management agencies, she has investigated the life history and status of many species of native Hawaiian birds, including endangered species. In recent years she and her students have begun work on the impacts of non-native species of animals on seabirds, interactions between seabirds and commercial fishing, and where seabirds travel to forage for food. Conant plans to discuss her research and the important issues surrounding the ecology of these seabirds.

For more information, please call the Office of Community & Alumni Relations, Colleges of Arts & Sciences, 956-4051.