BIC Coffee Hour Lecture Series
Speaker: Dr. Bryan Watts, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology at William & Mary. Cost: Free.
The effective conservation of migratory species requires an understanding of their entire annual cycle. Prior to the development of size-appropriate satellite transmitters, very little was known about migration pathways for most shorebird species using the Atlantic Flyway. Between 2008 and 2014, the Center for Conservation Research deployed 35 satellite transmitters on whimbrels (a large shorebird) and tracked birds for a total of more than 300,000 miles back and forth between breeding areas in the high Arctic and winter sites primarily in the tropics. The clear, emergent message of this work is that whimbrels connect many locations and cultures throughout the hemisphere and that their recovery depends on our ability to work together with singular purpose. Virginia’s Eastern Shore represents a critical link in the chain of conservation sites that whimbrels depend on to survive.
Bryan Watts is the Mitchell A. Byrd Professor of Conservation Biology and Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, a research unit shared by the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University. He received a B.S. from Virginia Tech, a M.S. from the College of William and Mary and a PhD from the University of Georgia. Watts co-founded and has directed the Center for more than 20 years and overseen more than 500 research projects focused on finding solutions to conservation problems. The overarching mission of the Center is to ensure the viability of bird populations throughout the Western Hemisphere. The recipient of 350 grant awards, author of more than 250 publications and mentor to dozens of undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Watts continues to be passionate about the study of bird ecology.