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Monthly Program: June 2022

June 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Birding Information: Local Birds from MDAS Photo Contests
Krista Vossekuil, MDAS Education Chair

Krista Vossekuil will share some of the photos from the MDAS Photo Contests! Check out all the amazing entries and enjoy pictures of some of our incredible local birds.

Bullock’s Orioles, Morgan Territory, photo by Jerry Britten

Main Program:
Emperors of the Ice: Ecology and physiology of an iconic Antarctic predator, the emperor penguin
Dr. Gitte McDonald

Emperor penguins are the largest species of marine bird, and perhaps because of its size, it is able to fast longer, dive deeper, and endure harsher conditions than any other avian species. As a top predator in the Antarctic ecosystem, they have a significant top-down effect on prey. Additionally, as top predators, their survival and reproduction depends on the functioning of the entire food web.

Join Gitte McDonald as she talks about her research expeditions to the Ross Sea to study the ecology and physiology of emperor penguins. She will start off with an introduction on basic biology and ecology of emperor penguins before talking about current research on the behavioral and physiological adaptations that allow them to thrive in the Antarctic ecosystem. The talk will conclude with a discussion of current and future challenges.

As a physiological and behavioral ecologist, Dr. Gitte McDonald investigates adaptations that allow animals to survive in extreme environments. Marine mammals and birds provide an ideal study system to investigate how animals deal with extreme conditions because of their large size variation, geographic distribution and physiological challenges they face on a daily basis including hypoxia, extreme temperatures, and fasting. Understanding the mechanisms that allow an organism to interact and survive in its environment is crucial for predicting, and potentially mitigating, their response to climate change. Her research has provided opportunities to work with a broad range of species in a diversity of habitats from the Antarctic to the Galapagos.

Gitte McDonald, photo by Greg Marshall


June 2
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


The Camellia Room at The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek
1540 Marchbanks Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94598 United States


Ariana Rickard