Life and Times of the Anhinga, Florida’s Underwater Spear Fisherman

Presentation  |  February 26

The Anhinga is a large bird that finds its meals while swimming underwater. It deftly chases and spears fish -- and can swallow a fish much larger in diameter than its skull. How does it do this? Why is it limited to the American tropics and the Gulf States of North America? Are those real teeth in its mouth? Why does it have some feathers that appear to be corrugated? What challenges does it face in the modern world? This is an incredible bird that is often seen in Florida, but whose behavior and ecology are little understood.


Jerome A. Jackson is Professor Emeritus of Ecological Sciences and former Whitaker Eminent Scholar in Science at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Professor Emeritus at Mississippi State University. Jerry's expertise focuses on forest and coastal ecosystems, bird management issues associated with aviation, and the history of ornithology.

He is author/editor of 24 books and more than 300 articles in the professional and popular literature. His book, In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was published by Smithsonian Books in 2004 and appeared in a second edition in May 2006. More recent books include George Miksch Sutton: Artist, Scientist, Teacher published by University of Oklahoma Press in 2007, and Bird Banding in North America: the First Hundred Years published by the Nuttall Ornithological Club in 2008.

Dr. Jackson has taught biodiversity concepts at the third and fifth grade levels and at 11 universities on Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. His research and teaching have also taken him to Cuba to study Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, to the Peruvian Amazon to teach Tropical Ecology, and to the Canadian Arctic to teach Arctic Ecology. He co-hosted a weekly nature-oriented feature called “Southern Outdoors” on CBS-Television in Mississippi for 13 years, contributed to Public Television’s Scientific American Frontiers series and Canadian Broadcasting's "Prairie Scapegoats.” He is also featured in the documentary film “Ghost Bird” – about searches for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

Dr. Jackson has hosted a daily public radio feature in southwest Florida called "With the Wild Things" for the past 17 years.
He has served on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and South Florida Ecosystems Endangered Species Recovery Teams and on the national Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

He has been honored by being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Ornithologists’ Union, and the Explorer’s Club. He and his wife Bette, also an ornithologist and former Chair of the Biological Sciences Department at Florida Gulf Coast University, live in Naples, Florida.

The lecture series frequently sells out. We encourage you to reserve your seat for any of the upcoming presentations. To attend, please pre-register for the event by emailing Sophia Navarra at sophian@conservancy.org or by calling 239.403.4207. You will receive either an email or verbal confirmation of your reservation. If you do not receive a confirmation, we do not have you registered, please contact us again for confirmation. We stop accepting reservations after 3:00PM the day of the presentation.

Doors open at 5:30 PM. Program starts at 6 PM.

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