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Inaugural Maunakea Speakers Series Begins

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), in collaboration with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, is launching a new monthly lecture series giving community members unprecedented access to scholars and their knowledge-based work. The Maunakea Speakers Series brings scholars to Hilo to present on diverse subjects including fauna, biodiversity, climate change, botany, geophysics and other topics; all components of the immense resource diversity found on Maunakea.

“Our intent is to provide thought-provoking lectures and presentations while deepening our collective knowledge and understanding of the resources on Maunakea and strengthening educational opportunities —goals we all share,” said OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata.

Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawai‘i’s Birds

The first program under the Maunakea Speaker Series kicks off with a one-hour presentation, Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawaii’s Birds by Dr. Rob Fleischer, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park. Dr. Fleischer will discuss Hawai‘i’s native birds and how he and his colleagues use DNA methods to study evolutionary relationships, population genetics, diet, and the impacts and mitigation of introduced disease.

Dr. Fleischer’s Smithsonian research involves application of DNA and genetic analyses to studies in conservation, evolution and animal behavior. His research often focuses on the use of DNA and genetics to document changes in genetic variation and to study the evolutionary interactions between hosts, vectors and infectious disease organisms (such as introduced avian malaria in native Hawaiian birds).

The Birds of Paradise Lost presentation will be held on Thursday, February 9 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the UH Hilo Science & Technology Building auditorium (Room 108) and is free and open to interested community members. On-campus parking is available without charge.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.

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