Wednesday, May 06, 2009

biodiversity in bahamas and peru

There is another pair of Earthwatch lectures coming up tomorrow:

Conserving Biodiversity in the Americas
Thursday 7th May, 7pm-8.30pm at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR
Chaired by Dr. George McGavin, author, lecturer, television presenter and explorer.

The Amazon and the Caribbean must rank as two of the most attractive locations on earth, but this very fact renders them all the more vulnerable to exploitation, and the environmental disturbance that will inevitably follow.

Coastal Ecology of the Bahamas
Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Sealey, University of Miami

Given their obvious appeal to tourists, the Bahamas have until recently been comparatively unmarred by development; 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.

Amazon Riverboat Exploration
Dr. Richard Bodmer, Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology and the Wildlife Conservation Society

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 Dr. Bodmer's 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.

Numbers are limited so call +44 (0)1865 318856 or email today to avoid disappointment!


I've just seen a rehearsal of the Bahamas talk and was intrigued to learn that the islands have virtually no freshwater resources -- all the drinking water for the zillions of tourists (not to mention their golf courses) must be produced in situ by desalting sea water using reverse osmosis. And all the food imported to the islands ends up adding to the eutrophication of their coastal waters. Makes you think. (All the water that Shakira drinks while recording her new album, and the fresh carrots that she eats ... )

PS: this is the 100th post with the label "sciencenews" !!! (to clarify its meaning: sciencenews are blog-exclusive, while the sciencejournalism label is for blog posts referencing pieces I have published elsewhere.)

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