B.A., Colby College, 2004
M.S., University of Delaware, 2009
Song Plasticity in Black-capped Chickadees
Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), despite having a stereotyped song, frequently shift the starting frequency of their song. Relatively little is known about individual variation in plasticity in song, if pitch shifting can be evoked in response to environmental noise, and if pitch shifting behavior relates to other measures of status in flocks. This work may give insights into song plasticity in a stereotyped song, and may also yield information on the adaptiveness of plastic song iPhoto Library
Breeding Bird Monitoring
Measuring the complex interactions of anthropogenic stressors on natural systems is a difficult but increasingly important task. Development and conservation are historically at odds with each other, and with continued growth will come increased strain on natural systems. In the Mid-Atlantic, in particular, human development is continuing at a rapid pace. It has been estimated that between 1976 and 1996, development around Washington DC increased by 22 km2 per year. In the National Capital Region (NCRN) of eleven National Parks (MD, VA, WV and D.C.), the density and/or abundance of forest breeding birds was selected as one of 21 vital signs to be monitored (NPS 2005). Of the 80 plus bird species that are known to breed in NCRN forests, many have been designated priorities for conservation effort. The overall goal for monitoring forest breeding birds is to determine the changes in density and/or relative abundance across the network of parks. This project will work to integrate the avian monitoring data into an overall condition assessment of not only the breeding bird community but also the forested ecosystems within the NCRN.