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Doing science

Doing science

Breeding activity by the chickadees has waned, but Carolina wrens and prothonotary warblers are nesting in earnest. Also, exposing curious students to new things might be the coolest thing in the world.

Kelly Miller Joins the Lab

Kelly Miller Joins the Lab

We are pleased to welcome Kelly Miller to the lab this fall to begin a PhD program at Memphis. Kelly is currently finishing her undergraduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington, completing degrees in both Animal Behavior and Psychology (honors), with a minor in Biology. Stay tuned for updates on her research!

Alex gets money!

Alex gets money!

Congratulations to Alex, who has just received a grant from the Tennessee Ornithological Society for his project entitled, “Experimental manipulation of environmental temperature and its effect on nestling development in the Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis).” The Tennessee Ornithological Society promotes the enjoyment, scientific study, and conservation of birds.

New paper on sexual selection and parental care

New paper on sexual selection and parental care

A new paper led by undergraduate researcher Darren Will investigates parental food provisioning in relation to a male’s sexual attractiveness. Male parental care for offspring was found to vary inversely with sexual attractiveness. The paper sheds new light on the potential for sexual selection to shape parental effort and on sexual conflict over biparental care.

Study area taking shape

Study area taking shape

Under beautiful weather for fieldwork, we are establishing our study area. In just three days, and with the help of eight terrific AmeriCorps members, we made 350 nestboxes for use at the Meeman Biological Station. We have more boxes to build, but are now deploying boxes in the field, and our resident birds have taken notice!

New paper on climate change

New paper on climate change

A new paper investigates consequences for increasing spring temperatures on the phenology and life history of one of our favorite birds, the House Wren. Several important stages in the lives of these birds have been altered, including the strength and shape of natural selection acting on breeding date.

New paper in Hormones and Behavior

New paper in Hormones and Behavior

A new paper investigates consequences of elevated glucocorticoids duing egg production on maternal allocation and offspring development. Feeding corticosterone-injected mealworms to free-living females during egg formation increased clutch sizes, yolk-corticosterone concentrations, and enhanced offspring begging and growth after hatching.