Mentor: Dr. Kathryn Sieving
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
"I applied to the Scholars program in order to further my research with avian ecology and conservation. This program will not only teach me valuable research skills but communication skills as well, as I will fine tune my speaking and writing skills in a research setting. My goals for the academic year are to comprehend and integrate the material presented in my classes into my life and research, if possible."
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Behavior of Passerine Birds
Science for Life award through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
University of Florida Anderson Scholar
University of Florida's chapter of The Wildlife Society
Hobbies and Interests
Testing the Effects of Non-lethal Predation Risk on Eastern Bluebirds, Sialia sialis
The research project I am involved in examines the way Eastern Bluebirds, Sialia sialis, perceive the risk of non-lethal predation from Cooper's Hawks and consequently how the birds adjust their reproductive output (i.e. number of eggs per clutch, number of chicks successfully fledged, etc). Playback stations broadcasting Cooper's Hawk calls were set up on experimental plots around Gainesville, Fl and active bluebird nests were monitored for a full breeding season. Measurements such as clutch size, volume, and first-egg date were taken on eggs and weight, wing chord, and tarsus length were taken on nestlings in both experimental and control plots, and the results analyzed. I primarily considered clutch size and egg volume as indicators of reproductive output. From a conservation standpoint, knowing if and how Eastern bluebirds can alter their reproductive strategy is important in both furthering our understanding of the biology of the birds and helping us comprehend how the birds can adapt to changing surroundings. As Eastern bluebirds inhabit areas with increasing levels of predation, whether this be due to natural range expansion or anthropogenic habitat change, we can predict how the birds will change their reproductive strategies and potentially how the population will respond.