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Hann Endowed Seminar: "Studying Birds in the Context of the Annual Cycle: Carry-over Effects and Seasonal Interactions"

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
4:00 AM
Alumni Room, Gates Lecture Hall, UMBS, 9133 Biological Rd., Pellston, MI 49769

Migratory birds spend different parts of the annual cycle in geographically disparate places.  The conditions and selective pressures during each period are likely to affect individual performance during subsequent periods.  This simple fact presents considerable obstacles for understanding how agents of global change (i.e., climate, land-use) will influence the ecology, evolution, and conservation of migratory birds.  Such inter-seasonal effects are poorly understood within most avian migration systems, in large part because it has been difficult to follow individuals and specific populations year round (i.e., migratory connectivity).  In addition, for most species there exists an extreme research bias towards breeding rather than non-breeding season biology.

Furthermore, the limiting factors and regulatory mechanisms that determine abundance remain poorly understood for most bird species.  In this seminar, Dr. Marra will use his long-term research on redstarts in Jamaica to show how events on wintering grounds, such as climate and habitat affect both arrival time and body condition of individual birds on breeding areas, and how these parameters are likely to have important consequences for breeding events and annual survival.  Understanding how global change will influence migratory organisms requires the study biological phenomena in the context of the entire annual cycle.

Dr. Peter Marra is a Research Scientist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, DC. Urban ecology is a key focus of his research.  He created the Smithsonian's "Neighborhood Nestwatch" citizen science program.  The program collects data on bird survival and productivity around the nation's capital.  Dr. Marra also studies migratory biology and emerging infectious diseases among birds. He earned his PhD from Dartmouth College.

This seminar is free and open to the public.