PLEASE NOTE: Upcoming Nuttall monthly meetings will be held virtually until it is safe to meet in person. Details will be provided to members as they become available.
Sarah Knutie - Finch in a pinch: effects of environmental change on endemic birds in the Galapagos Islands
October 4, 2021
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Faculty Affiliate at the University of Connecticut Institute for Systems Genomics
The overarching theme of the Knutie Lab is to understand how birds defend themselves against disease-causing parasites, particularly in response to environmental change. Her talk will take us to the Galapagos Islands, where she uses experimental field studies to determine the effects of an invasive parasitic nest fly on endemic birds, whether these naive birds can defend themselves against the parasite, and how recent urbanization is affecting bird-parasite relationships. She will also talk about unique management strategies for the parasite to help conserve endemic birds.
Dr. Sarah Knutie is an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Faculty Affiliate at the University of Connecticut Institute for Systems Genomics. She is a National Geographic Explorer, and serves as Faculty Advisor for the UConn chapter of the Ecological Society of America’s flagship and award-winning SEEDS program, which aims to increase participation and leadership by underrepresented students in the field of ecology. Her research interests include disease biology, ecotoxicology, host-microbe interactions, environmental change, immunology, and animal behavior. Dr. Knutie has a BS from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, a MSc from the University of Tulsa, and a PhD from the University of Utah.
Mary Caswell Stoddard - Colorful birds, exquisite eggshells, and other avian adventures
November 1, 2021
Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University
Birds evolved about 150 million years ago, and today they are the most diverse and colorful land vertebrates. In my group, we are fascinated by the ecological and evolutionary processes that contribute to avian diversity. In the field, we are establishing a system for studying color perception in wild hummingbirds in the Rocky Mountains. These tiny iridescent birds lead colorful lives, performing spectacular courtship dives and pollinating diverse wildflowers. We also study the avian egg, a remarkable structure that is built to break. The eggs laid by stealthy cuckoos and flightless emus offer insights into avian behavior and evolution.
Mary Caswell Stoddard (Cassie) is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Dr. Stoddard received her undergraduate degree from Yale University. On a Marshall Scholarship, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge before joining the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow. Stoddard is a research affiliate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. She was a 2018 Sloan Research Fellow and is a current Packard Fellow.
Jonathan Slaght - Owls of the Eastern Ice: Blakiston's Fish Owl Conservation in Russia
December 6, 2021
Russia & Northeast Asia Coordinator for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society
From 2006-2010, Jonathan Slaght studied Blakiston’s fish owls in Russia for his PhD degree in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Minnesota. These enormous and endangered salmon-eaters live in some of the hardest-to-reach corners of northeast Asia, on the fringes of human civilization. Slaght’s memoir of this experience, called “Owls of the Eastern Ice,” was published in summer 2020 to acclaim. It was a New York Times “Notable Book for 2020”, long-listed for a 2020 National Book Award, one of the Wall Street Journal’s “Ten Best Books of 2020,” and winner of the 2021 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Here, he will describe the owls and his project, including details of the adventures and struggles of fieldwork, and on-going conservation efforts with this endangered species.
Jonathan Slaght is the Russia & Northeast Asia Coordinator for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). He manages research projects involving endangered species such as Blakiston’s fish owls and Amur tigers, and coordinates WCS avian conservation activities along the East Asia-Australasian Flyway from the Russian Arctic to the mudflats of Southeast Asia. Dr. Slaght’s writings, scientific research, and photographs have been featured by the BBC World Service, the New York Times, The Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker, and Audubon Magazine, among others.
Barbara Vickery and Scott Weidensaul - Birds of Maine: A Life's Legacy
January 3, 2022
Editors, Birds of Maine
Written by the late Peter Vickery in cooperation with a distinguished team of co-authors and editors, the recently published Birds of Maine is the first comprehensive overview of Maine’s rich birdlife in 70 years. Peter, elected to NOC in 1984, spent much of his career focusing on the ecology of grassland birds in New England, Florida and Argentina, resulting in several books and many publications. However, Birds of Maine represents the culmination of his true life's work, documenting the avifauna of his beloved home state.
Birds of Maine includes detailed accounts of all 464 species recorded in the Pine Tree State. It is also a portrait of a region undergoing rapid changes, with southern birds pushing north, northern birds expanding south, and once-absent natives like Atlantic Puffins brought back by innovative conservation techniques pioneered in Maine. It includes information on migration patterns and timing, changes in abundance and distribution, and how Maine’s geography and shifting climate mold its birdlife. it also illuminates the conservation status for Maine’s birds, causes of declines and reasons for hope.
We will outline how the book, co-published by Nuttall Ornithological Club, came to be and what sets it apart.
Barbara Vickery, Peter’s wife and life partner, shared the managing editorship of Birds of Maine with Scott Weidensaul. Barbara was a conservation biologist for The Nature Conservancy in Maine for 33 years, most recently as Conservation Director. She retired in 2017 at the time of Peter’s death and devoted the next three years to ensuring the completion of Birds of Maine.
Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist "Living on the Wind" and his latest, the New York Times bestseller "A World on the Wing." Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon, a columnist for Bird Watcher's Digest and writes for a variety of other publications, including Living Bird. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society and an active field researcher, studying saw-whet owl migration for more than two decades, as well as winter hummingbirds, bird migration in Alaska, and the winter movements of snowy owls through Project SNOWstorm, which he co-founded. A native of Pennsylvania, he now lives in New Hampshire.
(NOC members, login to view and listen to presentations)
Field problem presented: Jim Berry – Nesting birds H. Doug Pratt is currently research curator at North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. He received his PhD in biology at LSU in 1969. He began studying Hawaiian honeycreepers 30 years ago and has expanded his research into endemic birds of Pacific Ocean islands.Read More
Field problem presented: Wayne Petersen – We can’t be too careful Tim Laman has been working in New Guinea, collaborating with Edwin Scolz. Tim received his PhD in evolutionary biology at Harvard in 1994. He began working in Borneo and became a regular contributor to National Geographic. The work presented was a preview of an article…Read More
Field problem presented: Ian Nisbet – Roseate Terns Dick Veit received his undergraduate degree in biology at UMass Boston and his graduate degree at University of California at Irvine. He is currently professor of biology at College of Staten Island. He has published 44 publications and 1 book (Birds of Massachusetts with Wayne Petersen), mentors 14…Read More
Reuven Yosef has worked at the Raptor Research Center in Eilat, Israel, since 1984 and has been the director since 1993. He received his PhD at Ohio State University and conducted his post-doc work on shrikes at Florida’s Archibald Research Center. He has been involved in developing educational programs on raptors, primarily in the Old…Read More
The influence of the Galapagos Islands on evolutionary thinking. https://vimeo.com/198576752Read More