Island Lecture Series: The Biogeography of North Atlantic Islands, with David Cairns

7 pm, March 26th, 2024, SDU Faculty Lounge, UPEI

Presented by the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI, the Lecture Series on March 26 will island-hop across the northern North Atlantic to see who lives there and how they got there. Biogeography is the three-way crossroads of history, biology, and geography. For most of these islands; the Shetlands, the Faeroes, Iceland, and many others; this history started when bare land emerged from under melting ice about 10,000 years ago, with creatures soon arriving by wing or wind. Humans came too, some by primitive boats that we know almost nothing about. But history can also have recent beginnings, such as the explosive birth of Surtsey Island, off Iceland, in 1963. This talk recounts the rich biological traditions of island biogeography, and shows that their insights apply equally well to people.

Born with a bang: Surtsey Island emerges from the sea

Meet the Speaker:

David Cairns was born, surrounded by winter ice, on Prince Edward Island. Deliberately seeking out cold, barren, and dangerous places, especially if they are islands, he found them during his early research career in northern seabirds. He is now a Scientist Emeritus with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, an Adjunct Professor with the UPEI Biology Department, and an Arctic expedition naturalist with Lindblad Expeditions and Aurora Expeditions.

Find out more about David at