Tropical Investigation

January 1, 2013


Thirteen Canisius students had the unique opportunity to spend eight days of their winter break investigating the rainforests and coral reef ecosystems in the Hawaiian Islands. The majority of the students study in the Canisius College Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation (ABEC) Program. The group traveled from December 15-22 under the guidance of Michael Noonan, PhD, professor of animal behavior and ABEC director.

Students explored three distinct ecosystems: the high altitude volcanic mountain regions, the lush tropical rainforest and the shallow-water marine sanctuary situated between the islands of Maui and Lanai. While in the field, students encountered rare endemic Hawaiian wildlife such as the Nene Goose and the beautiful Hawaiian l’iwi bird. In the water, they documented more than 100 species of fish, and made direct observations of the humpback whales that migrate to those protected waters for their birthing and mating seasons.

Remarkably, the students were able to hear the whales singing to each other by going down below 10 feet in the water and hanging perfectly still.  Even though the whales were miles away, their calls could be heard distantly echoing off the underwater canyons and mountains. The students described the moment as "magical".

The following students traveled to Hawaii:

     Nicole M. Barnes ’14, a junior ABEC major

     Amanda R. Bartos ’14, a junior ABEC major

     Haylee Herman-Haase, ’14, a junior ABEC major

     Olivia G. Hoffman, a freshman ABEC major

     Amy Kovacs, a first-year student in the Master’s Program theAnthrozoology

     Macy A. Madden ’14, junior ABEC and biology dual major

     Sarah C. Mars, ’14, a junior ABEC major

     Lauren A. Mazikowski ’13, a senior management major

     Lauren A. Moiser ’13, a senior digital arts majorwith a minor in animal behavior

     Alfred E. Runkel ’14, a junior ABEC major

     Laura A. Schrader ’13, a senior ABEC and psychology dual major

     Christian C. Trella ’13, a senior ABEC major

     Jerrianne Wittmore ’14, a junior ABEC major

           The largest program of its kind in the U.S., the Canisius ABEC program educates students about the science of animal behavior as well as the ethical and moral considerations involved in these fields. The major offers broad training in the nature of animals, their behavioral ecology, and mankind’s relationship to them. It is designed for students who wish to engage in a rigorous course of study on the behavioral biology of animals, and one in which they critically examine issues pertaining to animal welfare and wildlife conservation. A central theme underlying this program is the use of scientific knowledge about animal behavior for the benefit of animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Find out more information about ABEC click here.