On Wednesday, April 25th, GNCE alum Charles Van Rees (Class of 2010) returned to campus to give a talk in the Biology Seminar. Charles has just completed his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at Tufts University. He has also just received a Fulbright grant to continue his work on bird conservation next year in Seville, Spain. Charles's dissertation research focuses on the Hawaiian gallinule (or `alae `ula), an endangered waterbird with very specific habitat preferences. The birds live in fragmented coastal wetland areas on the island of Oahu, areas that are threatened by coastal development and likely sea level rise. Charles's research uses a combination of methods--including banding and direct sighting, genetic sequencing, and GIS mapping--to try to understand the relationships among those seemingly isolated populations. One finding that he reported was the the birds seem to like to travel along freshwater pathways, such as canals and drainage ditches. Charles is also an advisory ecologist with a non-profit conservation group, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.
The Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment at Connecticut College
a special community of students, faculty and staff, promotes student led and faculty guided interdisciplinary research on environmental issues