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Alison BoyerAlison Boyer, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has spent the past ten years studying the endangerment and extinction of Pacific island birds.

She’ll be discussing her work at the UT Science Forum on Friday, November 9.

The Science Forum is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research and the general public to learn about science through a conversational presentation.

The weekly presentations begin at noon on Fridays in room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena. Attendees can bring lunch or purchase it at the arena. Each presentation is 40 minutes long and is followed by a question-and-answer session. It is free and open to the public.

Boyer’s presentation will cover research she did in Hawaii and New Caledonia. She’ll discuss large-scale overall trends in extinct and endangered species and major threats to tropical birds.

She said she’s interested in understanding why species become extinct. In studying fossil records, she and other scientists have discovered that some bird species have become extinct without being documented. Because it happened relatively recently, human contact was probably involved.

She also wants to explore why biodiversity is helpful to humans and what the detriments of losing it could be.

Future Science Forums will feature:

  • Nov. 16: Rob Heller, professor of journalism and electronic media, will discuss “A Brief Yet Incomplete History of Photojournalism.”
  • Nov. 30: Sue Hume, clinical associate professor of audiology and speech pathology, will present “Good Vibrations—Care and Use of the Professional Voice.”

The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research. For more information about the Science Forum, visit the Office of Research website.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Holly Gary (865-974-2225,