Showing blog posts tagged with Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
by AMNH on
On Sunday, the tree of life lost another member: Lonesome George, the famed last survivor of the Pinta Island tortoises (Chelonoidis abingdoni). Director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiveristy and Conservation Eleanor Sterling has been in the Galápagos for the past few days. She recently answered a few questions about Lonesome George’s passing and legacy.
What are you doing in the Galápagos?
Eleanor Sterling: The Galápagos National Park Service and the Galápagos Conservancy called together a meeting of experts on public participation in monitoring and conservation and I was invited as a specialist.
Who was Lonesome George?
Sterling: Lonesome George was a giant tortoise who was close to a century old and who was quite famous for being the last known representative of his species. And with his death, the whole species that was found on Pinta Island in the Galápagos is now extinct. There are other individuals who have some of the genes of Pinta Island tortoises, but he was last known individual to have the full genome of this species.
What role did humans play in the decline of his species?
Sterling: Seafaring individuals stopped by the Galápagos and collected tens of thousands of tortoises over the years. They packed their hulls with tortoises to use as food as they traveled around rest of world, because tortoises could last a long time without dying. Humans also introduced species such as rats to the islands where tortoises live, and those introduced species compete with tortoises for food or depredate on their young and eggs.
by AMNH on
Chris Filardi is the director of Pacific Programs at the Museum’sCenter for Biodiversity and Conservation. He has spent his career studying island birds and their unique ecologies, from working with indigenous communities to conserve island ecosystems to tracking the foraging behavior of Palm Cockatoos. At the upcoming SciCafe on Wednesday, April 4, Filardi will talk about how the genomic revolution and increased access to islands have changed how these systems are studied. He recently answered a few questions about the role islands play in understanding speciation, or how new species arise.
by AMNH on
This Wednesday, March 28, NPR’s popular weekly talk show Science Friday travels to the Museum for a special public recording in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Host Ira Flatow will interview Museum Curator Emeritus Ian Tattersall about how Homo sapiens became the dominant human species and speak to a panel of urban biodiversity experts, including Eleanor Sterling, the director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Flatow recently shared what he’s looking forward to about the evening.