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Hurricane Effects on Caribbean Birds
May 16 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EDT
Dr. Joseph M. Wunderle, Jr. – Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caribbean Ornithology
To help understand how hurricanes affect birds and their habitats and resources, Dr. Wunderle’s talk will summarize some of the direct and indirect effects of hurricanes on bird populations in the Caribbean. Dr. Wunderle and his colleagues have been “fortunate” in having baseline samples of populations and resources before the arrival of hurricanes on different islands and they have been able to re-sample in the storms’ aftermath to enable before and after comparisons. His talk will identify some of the types of birds, habitats, and resources especially vulnerable to hurricanes as well as demonstrating some post-hurricane behavioral responses of birds. Although some Caribbean bird species such as the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot have been found to be highly vulnerable to hurricane-induced population declines, populations of other bird species have been found to be remarkably resilient to hurricane impacts. In fact, not all is doom and gloom.
Wunderle has 40 years of experience teaching and conducting research throughout the Caribbean where he focuses on ecology and conservation of migrant and resident birds. His dissertation (Ph.D., 1980, Univ. of Minnesota) fieldwork was conducted on Grenada where he also taught field courses in the nearby Grenadines. Afterwards, he taught for a year at North Carolina State University and taught with the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica. In 1982, he joined the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) where he taught and conducted research with his students for eight years before joining the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as a Research Scientist working throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and Brazil. After 30 years with the USFS he retired, joined the board of BirdsCaribbean and returned to teaching ornithology for a semester at UPR, where he continues to advise graduate students. He has authored or co-authored numerous publications, including a field guide to the natural history of The Bahamas, based on his research and training of Bahamian students. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society and a recipient of its Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award and a founding member and former president of BirdsCaribbean and a former president of the Neotropical Ornithological Society.