Earthwatch Lecture 7th May 2009
by Deborah Miarkowska
Earthwatch Lecture - Conserving Biodiversity in the Americas
Thursday 7th May, 7.00pm-8.30pm at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR
Speakers: Dr. Richard Bodmer (Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology, and the Wildlife Conservation Society) & Dr. Kathleen Sullivan-Sealey (University of Miami). Chaired by explorer, writer and TV presenter Dr. George McGavin.
The very fact that the Amazon and the Caribbean are such attractive locations renders them all the more vulnerable to over-exploitation. Hear how Earthwatch scientists are addressing this issue in the Peruvian Amazon and on the coasts of the Bahamas.
Dr. Sullivan-Sealey’s lecture on her project ‘Coastal Ecology of the Bahamas’ is researching the impacts of development on Bahamian shores. Given their obvious appeal to tourists, the Bahamas have until recently been comparatively unmarred; but as the demands mount, so does the need for vigilance.
Using a mixture of traditional methods and the latest technology such as satellite image maps, this project, initiated in 2002, is charting the distribution and health of species both above and below the waterline, with the aim of balancing economic development with environmental protection.
Dr. Bodmer’s lecture on his project ‘Amazon Riverboat Exploration’ will outline how in many areas of the world’s largest river, illegal timber companies, pet traders, and hunters have decimated wildlife. This brings extra urgency to the research being conducted by his team of local scientists and Earthwatch volunteers on two near-pristine stretches of the Peruvian Amazon. Operating from a vintage boat dating from the rubber boom period, they are collecting data on the extraordinary variety of species found there, from manatee and giant river otter to macaw and woolly monkey, with a view to securing their conservation.