The Hubbard Brook Field Ornithology Program 2020-21 cohort presented their first talks at a scientific meeting. The students received strong, positive feedback on each of their presentations, including high remarks from Dick Holmes, founder of the Hubbard Brook bird research. The field training program was well received by the Hubbard Brook research community. Talks will be posted to https://www.birds.cornell.edu/hubbardbrook/ before the Fall semester.
New paper published in The American Naturalist led by Becky Cramer with Mike Webster and Brandt Ryder showing how sexual selection metrics from field data results in substantial bias. We provide a tool to select metrics for your specific system. Such a fun collaboration with great scientists and friends! 🔗
new paper: Over-summering abundance, species composition, and habitat-use patterns at a globally important site for migratory shorebirds
New paper published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology on the conservation importance of the Kadalundi Vallikkunnu Community Reserve on the southwest coast of India for oversummering shorebirds — migrants that remain on their wintering grounds during the breeding season.
Over the 14 yr study, we documented 7 over-summering species, including Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), and Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva). Management plans that aim to restore vulnerable mudflats and mangroves and to reduce anthropogenic threats such as sand mining and waste dumping are needed to prevent the loss of important oversummering, foraging habitat for migratory shorebirds in southern India and along the Central Asian and South Asian Flyways. 🔗
New paper published in Behavioral Ecology. Copulations outside the pair bond often occur only within local neighborhoods, thus preventing a single male from monopolizing all extrapair paternity opportunities in a population. It has been proposed that such spatial constraints would limit sexual selection. Our simulations show that sexual selection, though reduced, can remain strong despite spatial constraints on extrapair paternity.
Exciting new simulation study with wonderful friends, Becky Cramer and Emma Greig. 🔗
NEW Paper: Within-group relatedness and patterns of cooperation and reproductive sharing in the tropical chestnut-crested yuhina
Excited to share our new paper published in Animal Behaviour of a cooperatively breeding songbird endemic to Borneo with mixed-kin breeding groups. Both unrelated male and female helpers of the chestnut-crested yuhina gain direct benefits from helping within their breeding group.
Coauthors: Tom Martin, Juan Carlos Oteyza, Julie Castner Danner, Connor Armstad, and Robert Fleischer. 🔗
Enjoy the slideshow!
New paper published in The Auk, "Variation in nest characteristics and brooding patterns of female Black-throated Blue Warblers is associated with thermal cues". We tested the hypothesis that females adjust nest characteristics and brooding patterns in response to thermal variation during the nest-building and nestling stages. This work was conducted across a 2°C gradient at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Our findings suggest that thermal cues during nest building may be unreliable as predictors of future conditions for developing nestlings and also that females might favor their own self-maintenance and compromise nestling growth under adverse thermal conditions 🔗
Maria Smith was my undergraduate advisee at Cornell University. Maria is now a graduate student at Princeton University working with Christie Riehl.
New paper published in Behavioral Ecology, "Direct fitness benefits and kinship of social foraging groups in an Old World tropical babbler". We combined behavioral and molecular data to provide a first description of the social and genetic mating system of the grey-throated babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)--a resident of tropical submontane forests across Southeast Asia. Our findings highlight the importance of examining benefits of sociality for unrelated individuals that largely do not help and broaden the direct fitness benefits of group foraging beyond assumed survival benefits. 🔗
This was an exciting collaboration with Tom Martin's lab as part of their larger study on the life histories of the bird community at Kinabalu Park, in the state of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This work was co-authored by Tom Martin, Juan Oteyza, Connor Armstad, and Rob Fleischer.