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Birds and the Balance of Nature
By Prof. Denise Martin

Wednesday October 27, 2010

Guest Lecture: �Birds and the Balance of Nature�, John Kricher, PhD.

7:00PM, McCarthy Arts Recital Hall

The canary in a coal mine has always been a warning of unwelcome change.  Birds are highly sensitive to environmental change and continue to serve as sentinels in a world increasingly affected by change.  Is the balance of nature threatened by our changing world?  In this talk Prof. Kricher will argue that there is, in fact, no valid scientific definition of balance of nature and that nature is constantly changing to various degrees.  Using birds as examples, Prof. Kricher will explain how and why nature changes and why such change argues against any sort of meaningful balance.  But if nature is not really balanced, why preserve biodiversity?  Professor Kricher will close with a discussion of the ethical and scientific arguments regarding conservation of biodiversity.

John Kricher is a Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts. A graduate of Temple (B.A.) and Rutgers Universities (Ph.D.), Dr. Kricher teaches courses in ecology, ornithology, and vertebrate evolution. John has conducted Earthwatch-sponsored research on migrant birds on their wintering grounds in Belize and is the author of over 100 papers and articles in scientific journals, magazines, and newspapers.

His most recent book, The Balance of Nature: Ecology�s Enduring Myth, was published by Princeton University Press in spring of 2009. He has also authored Galapagos: A Natural History, published in hard-cover by Smithsonian Institution Press in 2002 and in soft-cover by Princeton University Press in 2006. Other books include A Neotropical Companion, and three ecology field guides (Eastern Forests, Rocky Mountain and Southwestern Forests, California and Pacific Northwest Forests) in the Peterson series. His widely used book, A Neotropical Companion has been translated into Spanish through the Birders' Exchange Program of the American Birding Association. He has also done two recorded lecture series, one on dinosaurs and one on ecology, published by Modern Scholar. He has just completed a textbook, Tropical Ecology, to be published by Princeton University Press in Spring 2011.

John is a Fellow in the American Ornithologists Union and has served as president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, president of the Wilson Ornithological Society, and president of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, and has been a member of the boards of directors of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, the New Jersey Audubon Society, and the American Birding Association. He is currently on the Council of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and serves on their Science Advisory Committee. John has led trips to many places including Cape May, Block Island, coastal New England, Arizona, the Pacific Northwest, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Panama, and Trinidad. He has lectured for Linblad Tours of the Galapagos Islands, for Society Expeditions trips to Venezuela, Brazil, and Indonesia, and for Glacier Bay Cruise Lines in Alaska. John and his wife Martha Vaughan divide their time between Pocasset, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod and Sunbury, Georgia.

Interview on New England Public Radio.




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