The project was inspired by the desire of the Town of Ithaca “to help promote biodiversity, provide shelter and food (nectar, pollen, seeds, nuts, leaves, etc.) for wildlife, and support pollinators,” wrote Michael Smith, senior planner of the Town of Ithaca, in a press release.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology conservation scientist Dr. Ken Rosenberg led an international team of 12 scientists in an analysis of decades of data on bird population — and the conclusion is disturbing. In the last 50 years, one in four birds in North America has disappeared. Pesticide use and loss of habitat to farmland are some of the most significant contributors to the decline in bird populations, according to Rosenberg. Although scientists have known for a long time that certain bird species were threatened by human activities, this study reveals that these issues apply to birds of nearly all species. “Seeing this net loss of three billion birds was shocking,” Rosenberg said.
“There are 8,001 frog species known to science, 501 declining plus 90 extinct is 6.5 percent of that diversity. The human population is 7.7 billion people. If you were to take 6.5 percent of the human population that would be 455 million people, more than the population of the US. That’s the impact,” Zamudio said.
For many, Drs. Rosemary and Peter Grant, evolutionary biology, Princeton University, are living legends in the field of modern evolutionary biology, having conducted over four decades of field research on the Galapagos finches. On Monday, March 12, students, professors and alumni packed into Call Auditorium in Kennedy Hall to witness the scientists bring their research on the Galapagos Finches to life. Rosemary’s talk, titled “Evolution of Darwin’s Finches: Integrating Behavior, Ecology, and Genetics” kicked off the Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship, in honor of the late Paul C. Mundinger. Mundiger received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1967 and developed a strong attachment with lab of Ornithology as a graduate student.