Biologist Presents on Dwindling Pelican Population

OGDEN, Utah – Wildlife researcher Marsha Sovada will visit Weber State University on March 18 to discuss threats facing the American white pelican.

Sovada, who works as a wildlife research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in North Dakota, will present “Disease, Climate Change and Predators Threaten Breeding Populations of American White Pelicans” at 3 p.m. in Shepherd Union 404A on the university’s Ogden campus.

In 2002, researchers began noticing unusually high mortality rates of pelican chicks, which nest colonially at only a few locations in North America. Based on a four-year study that started in 2004, scientists determined that the West Nile virus, weather events and additional predators are increasing the birds’ mortality rate and reducing the adult breeding population. Sovada will discuss what scientists are doing to learn how to protect the pelicans.

The event, which is sponsored by the university’s Department of Zoology, Honors Program and Environmental Issues Committee, is free and open to everyone. For more information, call 801-626-8541. 

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John Cavitt, zoology professor
801-626-6172 • 
Travis Clemens, assistant director of Media Relations
801-626-7948 •