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Canadian Wildlife Researcher Speaks at ESF


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An international wildlife expert will discuss the future of conservation at 4 p.m. Dec. 4 in 5 Illick Hall on the campus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Shane Mahoney, a Canadian researcher will present the sixth annual Wilford Dence Memorial Fellowship Lecture. His presentation is titled "Conservation in the 21st Century."

Mahoney's lecture will focus on the state of marine fishery resources and the history of conservation successes and failures in North America. He will also discuss the cultural and spiritual ties that connect humans to the natural order and flow of life.

Mahoney is the chief of research and inventory for the wildlife division of Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Tourism and Culture. He credits his childhood in Newfoundland with instilling in him a fascination with the relationship between wildlife and human culture. His work has included studies of a broad range of topics, including seabird breeding behavior, waterfowl parasites, and the predator-prey relationships of black bears, moose and caribou.

A frequent contributor to radio arts programs, Mahoney won the International Gabriel Award in 1996 for best radio arts program of the year. He co-wrote, narrated, and acted as scientific consultant for a BBC production, "People of the Sea," which chronicled the collapse of the northern cod stocks off Canada's east coast. The film has won six international awards.

In addition to Mahoney's lecture, the ceremony will include presentation of the $12,000 Wilford A. Dence Fellowship to doctoral student Richard Ruby of Jamesville, N.Y. Ruby was valedictorian of the ESF Class of 1992.

The Dence lecture and fellowship are named for a former ESF faculty member who was associated with the College for 46 years. Wilford Dence graduated from ESF in 1920 and worked many years for the College's Roosevelt Wild Life Forest Experiment Station. He joined the faculty in 1945 and taught biology courses until he retired in 1961.

His special interest was researching New York's freshwater fish. He died in 1975.

The fellowship was established by Dence's son, Carlton W. Dence, a professor emeritus of Paper Science and Engineering at ESF.

Ruby is researching the virtual disappearance of the deepwater sculpin, a bottom-dwelling fish that was found in the Great Lakes and Canada. He is investigating the effect of their disappearance on lake trout, which preyed upon the sculpin. The result of his work will be a computer model that can be used by fisheries managers to determine how various fish would be affected if a small, recently discovered deepwater sculpin population were rehabilitated.