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Saturday, 12 October 2019 06:48

WNPS monthly lecture for October ‘The Greatest Dance on the Planet’

A collection of stories of the long-distance migration of birds from our neighbourhood

The WNPS Monthly Lecture for October, ‘The Greatest Dance on the Planet: A collection of stories of the long-distance migration of birds from our neighbourhood’ by Dr. Sampath Seneviratne, will be held on 17 October at 6 p.m. at Jasmine Hall, BMICH, Colombo-7.

image b404744c56Modern aviation and internet had brought communities closer and made the world a smaller place for everyone. Yet it is perhaps birds that can lay claim to being the first globalising influence through their ability to traverse the globe through migration, which is a phenomenon that had forged connections between communities from far-flung lands for centuries.

Through eight distinctive flyways, birds roam across the globe hundreds of thousands of kilometres twice a year and perform a spectacular ‘dance’ that no other form of life on earth does in such a grandeur scale. Global trotters of the Central Asian Flyway reach Sri Lanka as its final southern destination. Hence Sri Lanka, being located in a pivotal place, plays a decisive role for world’s migratory birds.

The cutting edge science armed with novel technologies paint a vibrant story on how they do that – a story far fascinating from the one heard from natural history handbooks of the colonial past. Dr. Seneviratne will highlight some of these novel findings to illustrate how this annual dance performed to the planet’s cyclic rhythm and tempo in Sri Lanka’s own backyard.

Dr. Sampath S. Seneviratne is a research scientist who specialises in the study of evolution, molecular biogeography, and ornithology. His laboratory Avian Evolution Node studies how animals evolve in isolation in an island biogeography framework using both field and laboratory-based research in a broader genes-to-ecosystems approach.

His research program spans across oceans, islands and forests through research on montane birds in Sri Lanka and Western Ghats (India), bird migration in the Central Asian Flyway to the seabirds in the North-Pacific Arctic. Sampath is a birder, a naturalist, a conservationist and a public educator.

He is the current President of the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) and the newly-formed Sri Lanka Ecological Association (SLEA). He is a Senior Lecturer attached to the Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences, University of Colombo.

The WNPS Monthly lecture is open to both members and non-members with entrance free.

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