Appalachian Laboratory

Watershed Moments

Unfortunately, the Forest Fires in Appalachia event originally planned for February has been recently postponed due to unexpected circumstances.  We are currently working to schedule another event and will advertise details as soon as they become available.  If you don't already receive emails from us, be sure to join our email list to receive updates on this and other AL events.   


Thursday, May 2
(6:30pm, Appalachian Lab)

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. 

Marra will discuss his new book Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer he co-wrote with his good friend 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.

Pete Marra received his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1998. Pete’s 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. Pete 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.  Pete has published over 175 peer-reviewed papers in journals such as Science, Nature, PNAS, PLOS Biology, Ecology, Conservation Biology and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.  Pete is an avid fly fisherman, gardener and passionate cook.   He lives in Takoma Park, MD with his wife, two kids and dog Boudreaux.

Seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

UMCES Alumnus and NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold on International Space Station
More information on past Watershed Moments Community Learning Series Events can be found here.