Smithsonian ornithologist to speak Feb. 8

Smithsonian ornithologist to speak Feb. 8

Pete Marra
Pete Marra

Pete Marra, an ornithologist and conservation biologist affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, will discuss the environmental threats posed by free-ranging domestic cats during a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Hardin Hall Auditorium at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

His lecture will trace the historical and cultural ties between humans and cats from early domestication to the current boom in pet ownership, along the way accessibly explaining the science of extinction, population modeling and feline diseases. He will chart the developments that have led to the present impasse – from breakthrough studies on cat predation to cat-eradication programs underway in Australia.

Marra is the director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. His research focuses on avian conservation science and population dynamics. He has founded several large research and communication initiatives, such as Neighborhood Nestwatch and The Migratory Connectivity Project.

His book, "Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer," was published in 2016 by Princeton University Press. Copies will be available for purchase before and after the event, and a book signing will follow his talk.

Free parking will be available around Hardin Hall from 6 to 10 p.m.

Marra's lecture is sponsored by the University of Nebraska State Museum, the School of Natural Resources, the School of Biological Sciences and the Wachiska Audubon Society.