Research Interests and Background
I grew up in rural Michigan where I was encouraged to spend time outdoors, and developed an appreciation for the natural world. Today, my interests remain focused on the outdoors, and include backpacking, birding, running, and canoeing. As an undergraduate at Beloit College, I studied creative writing and philosophy, but become involved in ornithological research examining parent-offspring communication in red-winged blackbird. Upon graduating, I worked as a seasonal technician on a variety of avian ecological research across North America. During this period, my interested in applied conservation began to develop.
In 2016, I completed my master’s degree in Natural Resources Management at the University of Manitoba, where my thesis focused on the effects of energy development on grassland songbirds. For the past several years, I have held a position as an Avian Ecologist at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, where my research continued to concentrate on applied conservation and demographics of rapidly declining grassland songbirds.
Grassland bird Research
In the Zuckerberg Lab, my research will seek to use grassland songbirds as a model system to explore effects of patch-size mediated microclimates, and their possible relevance to grassland habitat management under a changing climate. To that end, we will employ novel remote-sensing techniques using UAS’s (e.g. drones) equipped with thermal imagers to create heat maps of grassland landscapes. We will then attempt to correlate these microclimates with the demographic performance of grassland songbirds breeding on these properties. We hope that this research will contribute to our ability to successfully manage landscapes for grassland birds in Wisconsin.
M.N.R.M. Biology, University of Manitoba, 2016.