Arctic seabird researcher to present Sunday lecture

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will host a lecture at 3 p.m. Sunday by George Divoky on “40 Years of Change: Cooper Island’s Seabirds Respond to a Melting Arctic.”

Tickets for the lecture at the Fort Worden Chapel, 200 Battery Way, are $10 for the public and $5 for marine science center members.

Divoky has studied seabirds in the arctic Alaska since 1970. As a researcher for the Smithsonian Institution, he participated in a U.S. Coast Guard survey of the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Prudhoe Bay.

Since then, he has been involved in Alaskan seabird research relating to a diverse group of conservation issues, including the Alaskan Native Land Claims Settlement Act, oil and gas exploration of the outer continental shelf, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and regional climate change, organizers said.

Since 1975, he has maintained a continuing study of black cormorants on Cooper Island, one of the longest longitudinal bird studies in the Arctic.

The Cooper Island study’s findings on the consequences of of recent snow and sea ice reductions provide some of best examples of the biological consequences of climate change, according to a press release.

Divoky’s research has been featured in a cover story in the New York Times Magazine entitled “George Divoky’s Planet,” in the PBS Scientific American Frontiers program “Hot Times in Alaska” and on ABC Nightly News and Nightline.

Currently, as director of the nonprofit Friends of Cooper Island, Divoky is working to ensure the continuation of Cooper Island seabirds.

Divoky holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State University and a doctorate from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

When not in the field, he lives in Seattle.

For more information on the lecture series, visit www.ptmsc.org or phone 360-385-5288.

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