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Biology faculty member discusses experiences in Galápagos Islands Feb. 25

Feb. 16, 2009 -- Dr. Jim Bednarz, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University, will present a lecture, “Studying Evolution on theDr. Jim Bednarz will give a special lecture on the Galápagos hawk on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m., Room 219, Laboratory Sciences Center, East Wing as part of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday celebration. Galápagos Islands: Following in the Footsteps of Darwin” Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m., in Room 219 of the Laboratory Sciences Center, East Wing.

This presentation is part of the month-long celebration of Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s landmark book, “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.” This presentation is open to the public.

Dr. Bednarz, colleagues, and students have been visiting the uninhabited islands in the Galápagos Archipelago since 1990 in a quest to answer a perplexing evolutionary question that has remained since Charles Darwin’s development of the fundamental theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Specifically, the Galápagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis) exhibits a rare mating system called cooperative polyandry, in which multiple male hawks mate with one female and equally share duties required to raise young hawks. This phenomenon baffles biologists as many of these care-giving males are not the true fathers of the young hawks.

Dr. Bednarz will describe some of the adventures that he and former graduate student, Ken Levenstein, experienced, introduce some of the unique wildlife of the Galápagos, and report on their findings based on the research conducted on Santiago Island since 1998. Their research has specifically tried to answer the question, ‘Why have Galápagos Hawks evolved an extreme form of cooperative polyandry?’ 

Bednarz and Levenstein carried out their work in the same remote area on Santiago Island where Charles Darwin spent the majority of his time observing the fauna of the Galápagos in 1835.

For more information, please contact the Department of Biological Sciences, Arkansas State University, (870) 972-3082, or e-mail



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