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ECWG Virtual Meeting: The Messenger: What Sea Eagles Tell Us About the Health of Our Planet by William W. Bowerman

May 16, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Explorers Club Members, Associates/Friends, Members’ Guests and Non-Members’ Guest List You are cordially invited to the May 2020 ECWG virtual meeting on Zoom with a presentation by William W. Bowerman.

About the Presentation

Sea Eagles were, with Peregrine Falcons, the first avian predators to indicate the effects of environmental pollutants post-World War II. Long-term studies of these species include studies that began in the 1950s in Scandinavia on White-tailed Eagles, in Africa on the African Fish Eagle and in North America on Bald Eagles. The impacts of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides were demonstrated in large-scale, long-term population studies of these species. Over the past 30 years, with more accurate methods to age nestlings, first egg laid in the nest has advanced in Bald Eagles by 0.8 days per year on average for those nesting along the Great Lakes shorelines. Preliminary analyses have found some adaptive effects on nestling size due to increases in temperatures. Utilizing a fifty-seven-year annual census for the state of Michigan on bald eagles, these and other techniques will be described. These methods have been utilized for long-term studies of both pollution and climate change on 5 continents. Studies have also been conducted on human disturbance, critical habitat assessment, migrations, and associations with hydroelectric operations. Sea Eagles are excellent indicator species for many human-caused impacts in the environment. However, as with any indicator species, there are some drawbacks. How they are best used as ecosystem monitors will be discussed.

About our speaker

William W. Bowerman is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Environmental Toxicology of Clemson University. He served as the United States Co-Chair of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board from 2011-2014, and was a member for 18 years. This service has resulted in extensive experience in cross-boundary and multi-jurisdictional natural resources and pollution abatement management issues. He received a Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife-environmental toxicology from Michigan State University. He has been studying bald eagle ecology and effects of environmental pollutants in the Great Lakes region since 1984. He and his associates have trained over 400 wildlife professionals and started environmental monitoring programs using sea eagles in the U.S. and Canada (bald eagles), Sweden (white-tailed sea eagle), Russia (Steller’s sea eagle), Uganda and South Africa (African fish-eagle). He has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and has received over 100 grants totaling over $6 million. Dr. Bowerman has supervised 10 Ph.D. graduates, 27 Masters degree graduate, and has trained 2 Fulbright and 1 U.N. Scholars in his laboratory. His awards include: William T. Hornaday Gold Medal, National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America; Distinguished Alumni Award, Northern Michigan University; the Regional Forester’s Honor Award, Eastern Region, U.S. Forest Service; and is a National Fellow of The Explorers Club.

How to Attend

This presentation will be given on the Zoom platform. Access will be mailed to all members. For help using Zoom please see this post: 

Zoom Meeting Instructions


May 16, 2020
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm