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While 2020 frequently had our attention focused on more immediate concerns, global warming continues, with its effects increasingly obvious throughout the world. A long-term study of Arctic seabirds dramatically documenting that warming and its consequences has been conducted by Seattle resident George Divoky since the 1970s. Dr. Divoky has annually gone to Cooper Island, a barrier island in the Alaskan Arctic ocean, to study a colony of Black Guillemots. The response of the Cooper Island colony to decreases in the region’s snow and ice provided some of the first evidence of the biological effects of global warming.
Pivoting to a virtual presentation this year, after several years of providing an annual update at Town Hall Seattle, Dr. Divoky’s presentation includes images and video from the 2020 field season, an overview of the nearly half-century of research on Cooper Island, and observations on what the future may hold for the Arctic and its wildlife.
George Divoky is an Arctic ornithologist whose research has received national and international attention, including a feature story in the New York Times Magazine and appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, Nightline, and Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda. His work was featured in the UK Royal National Theatre climate-change play, Greenland. He is the Director of Cooper Island Arctic Research, the research arm of the nonprofit, Friends of Cooper Island, which maintains the Cooper Island research.
Presented by Friends of Cooper Island.