Lamberson Ecology Lecture

The series is hosted by Humboldt’s Department of Mathematics and its name and funding from Roland Lamberson, Arcata, professor of mathematics at Cal Poly Humboldt from 1980 to 2004.  Professor Lamberson has made substantial contributions in the application of mathematics to ecology and natural resources.


Dr. Trent McDonald will deliver the Lamberson Ecology Lecture:

Wind Power and Wildlife: How We Study Mortalities, What We Know, and Where We Are Going

Thursday, March 12, 2019
SciB 135, 6:30 P.M.

     Wind power generation capacity is increasing dramatically in the United States and worldwide. This emissions-free source of electricity is extremely beneficial to the war on carbon and global climate change. At the same time, we know wind power facilities can adversely effect the surrounding environment. Turbines can kill birds and bats through blade strike, and the presence of large turbines can visually pollute previously pristine vistas. While the population level effects of turbine-caused fatalities is unknown for both birds and bats, turbine-caused deaths should be reduced as far as economically feasible. Toward that end, mortality reduction measures are common at wind generation facilities. Mitigation of endangered species' deaths is a requirement for endangered species take permits under the federal Endangered Species Act.

      This talk is about three things. First, how we study bird and bat mortality at wind power generation facilities. The science behind finding carcasses under turbines and adjusting for ones we do not find is deceptively complex. Second, what we have learned about wind fatalities over the course of three decades. We can now quantify the mortality of some species, and we have learned strategies for reducing the mortality of some species, but quick omnibus solutions are frustratingly elusive. Lastly, where research in wind and wildlife interactions is going over the next decade. Advanced technologies, in the form of cameras, vibration sensors, hypersonic sound emitters, and beagles are exciting developments in the study of wind power and wildlife interactions. It is my hope that audience members come away with a better understanding of commercial wind power production, its effects on wildlife, and the science behind these studies.

               Dr. McDoland is a Senior Biometrician at WEST Environmental & Statistical Consultants.

Past Lamberson Ecology speakers

March 2018 Barry Noon Colorado State University

March 2017 Andy Royle, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

February 2016 Dan Doak University of Colorado, Boulder

February 2015 Brian Dennis of the University of Idaho

March 2014 - Wayne Getz of the University of California at Berkeley.

February 2013 - Colin W. Clark of the University of British Columbia

December 2011 - Dr. Simon Levin, Princeton University, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for BioComplexity.

April 2011 - Dr. Alan Hastings, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis

February 2010 - Dr. Marc Mangel, Distinguished Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC) and a member of the California Academy of Science and the Royal Society of Edinburgh