Scientists and Reindeer Visit Gannon University to Highlight the Effects of Climate Change
Posted: January 23, 2017
Gannon University hosted presentations by two scientists on
their research into the effects of climate change on Alaskan
reindeer populations. Gregory L. Finstad, Ph.D. and Sophia
Papageorgiou, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Ph.D., presented their findings to
Gannon University's faculty and students on Monday, January 23 and
discussed possible collaborations and research initiatives.
Warmer weather in the Arctic has prevented from accessing food
sources while commercial reindeer herds in the lower 48 states are
affected by pathogens, often transmitted by insects that that may
migrate northward as the climate warms and threaten Arctic
The visit to campus of Finstad and Papageorgiou, arranged by
Gannon's biology department, comes during an academic year that has
witnessed a broad discussion of environmental issues, including a
yearlong series of speakers and presentations with the theme
Culture and Climate Change.
"Along with the establishment of the Donald M. and Judith C.
Alstadt Environmental Center in Warren County, and the ongoing
Culture and Climate Change series, today's visit by these
distinguished scientists has energized students and faculty in the
life sciences, environmental science and engineering-indeed, all of
us who are concerned about the state of the natural world-to
redouble our commitment to stewardship," said Walter Iwanenko
Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs.
About the Speakers:
Gregory L. Finstad, Ph.D.
Greg Finstad is research associate professor at the University of
Alaska Fairbanks' School of Natural Resources and Extension.
Finstad earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife
Management and his Ph.D. in range ecology at the University of
Alaska, Fairbanks. He is currently the manager of the university's
Reindeer Research Program, where for 35 years he has worked with
producers in developing and conducting applied research to enhance
the reindeer industry in Alaska. Finstad has developed reindeer
curriculum from the kindergarten to post-graduate level and was the
lead in developing a reindeer husbandry and management
Sophia Papageorgiou, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Ph.D.
Sophia Papageorgiou earned her bachelor's degree in animal
science and zoology from the University of California Davis and is
a graduate of the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine,
specializing in wildlife and international conservation medicine.
She has worked with a spectrum of wildlife species including large
carnivores, elephants, mesocarnivores, rodents and numerous avian
and reptile species. A field investigation on African elephants
ignited her passion to work as an international field researcher
and to earn her doctorate in epidemiology at the University of
California Davis. She has conducted international field research on
tick-borne pathogens in a population of Mongolian reindeer and
worked as a post- doctorate at the Center for Animal Disease
Modeling and Surveillance & Global Health Institute, at the
University of California Davis.