Appalachian Laboratory to host "Cat Wars" author Pete Marra- CANCELLED

October 29, 2018

Mounting scientific evidence confirms what many conservationists have suspected for some time—that in the United States alone, free-ranging cats are killing birds and other animals by the billions. Equally alarming are the little-known but potentially devastating public health consequences of rabies and parasitic Toxoplasma passing from cats to humans at rising rates. 

On Thursday, November 15, at 6:30 p.m., the Watershed Moments Community Learning Series will welcome Dr. Pete Marra to the Appalachian Laboratory (301 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD). Marra will discuss his new book "Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer," co-written with Chris Santella.  He will present data on the threats free-ranging cats pose to biodiversity and public health throughout the world and will also shed new light on the controversies surrounding the management of the explosion of these cat populations.  Marra will paint a revealing picture of a complex global problem—and propose solutions that foresee a time when wildlife and humans are no longer vulnerable to the impacts of free-ranging cats.

Main Street Books will have copies of "Cat Wars" available for sale in the lobby during the event.

Pete Marra received his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1998. His research in avian conservation science focuses on discovering why so many species of migratory birds are declining. His research examines the roles of climate change, habitat destruction, food and disease as well as other direct sources of mortality (i.e., cats) on bird survival. His research is both fundamental and applied and emphasizes incorporating events throughout the annual cycle to understand how more complex interactions across seasons drive the ecology and conservation of species. To accomplish this he has developed and incorporated multiple novel and emerging tracking techniques into his science.

Marra has founded several large science initiatives including Neighborhood Nestwatch and the Migratory Connectivity Project. Communicating his science and his excitement for the conservation of wildlife to as wide an audience as possible, especially to children and the general public, is a high priority of his overall program.  He has published over 210 peer-reviewed scientific publications and two books.  Pete Marra is an avid fly fisherman, gardener and passionate cook.   He lives in Takoma Park, MD with his wife, two kids and dog Boudreaux.

The Appalachian Laboratory’s Watershed Moments Community Learning Series offers free community events and presentations linking environmental science and education with topics of societal concern.  Events are free, open to the public, and held the Lab in Frostburg, Maryland.  Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6pm.  For more information and event updates, visit or call 301-689-7102. 

The Appalachian Laboratory, a research center of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, is located at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Frostburg, Md. Scientists conduct research on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including air and water quality, wildlife management, and land conservation throughout the world, with an emphasis on the rich and diverse environments of Western Maryland and the broader Appalachian region.