Watching the world melt away: what arctic seabirds tell us about global warming

Divorkytalk_2George Divoky

Thursday, November 29 4 pm



State Park

Bldg 204

The snow and ice habitats of the Arctic are especially vulnerable to climate change and since the last half of the 20th century northern Alaska has experienced some of the greatest warming of anywhere in the world.  The response of seabirds to this rapid environmental change will be discussed using a unique data set spanning more than three decades and providing compelling evidence of the biological consequences of the region’s rapid physical changes.

George Divoky has studied seabirds in


since 1970 when, as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution, he participated in the Coast Guard’s survey of the Arctic Ocean adjacent to

Prudhoe Bay

, prior to the development of that oilfield.  Since then he has been involved in Alaskan seabird studies relating to a diverse group of conservation issues including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and regional climate change.  He has maintained a continuing study of a seabird colony at Cooper Island, Alaska, since 1975.   The study is one of the longest longitudinal bird studies in North America or the


and its findings on the consequences of snow and pack ice reductions provide some of the best examples of the biological response to climate change. The website of Divoky’s nonprofit organization, Friends of Cooper Island ( provides background and regular updates on his research and outreach programs. 

Admission: Members $4/Non-members $4   Member youth $2/Non-member youth $3