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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 8:22 a.m., Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rats' impact on islands focus of conference at UH

Advertiser Staff

Top scientists from around the world who study rats as invasive species will convene at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa from Tuesday through Saturday for a conference.

Organized by UH botany professor Don Drake and anthropology professor Terry Hunt, the five-day conference will focus on rats, humans and their impacts on island ecosystems. The more than 70 presentations include research from archaeology, palaeo-environmental studies, genetics and field biology from islands around the world.

The conference opens with presentations by two well-known scientists on Tuesday.

Professor Daniel Simberloff, an ecologist from University of Tennessee, who specializes in the biology of invasive species, will discuss the impact of rats and other animals on ecosystems.

Professor Atholl Anderson, an archaeologist from Australian National University, will address human colonization of the remote Pacific islands and the simultaneous introduction of rats.

Conference speakers will cover a wide range of topics, including human and rat colonization of islands, the impacts of rats versus humans on island environments, examinations of native plants and animals and extinctions, direct and indirect ecological impacts of rats on ecosystems, and the role of eradication of rats in biological conservation.

The plenary presentations by professors Simberloff and Anderson are free and open to the public. Registration is required for other conference participation. For more information, visit the conference Website at www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/drake/Rodents2007.htm.

Plenary session (open to the public)

10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Art Auditorium, UH-Manoa campus

11 a.m. -- Introduction and Opening Remarks

Daniel Simberloff, ecologist, University of Tennessee

"Ecosystem Impacts of Rats ... and Beaver and Nutria and Squirrels and ... ?"

1 p.m. -- Atholl Anderson, archaeologist, Australian National University, "The Rat and the Octopus: Cultural Irruption and Biotic Response in the Prehistory of Remote Oceanic Islands"