Upcoming Programs

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.

Jennifer Gill - Space, time and bird migration: shifting systems in a changing world

February 1, 2021

Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK

Migratory bird populations are undergoing rapid changes at present. Shifts in the timing of migration and breeding, and in range and abundance, are being reported in migratory systems across the globe. However, how and why these changes are happening remains unclear. Since the mid-1990s, we have been colour-ringing and tracking individual Icelandic black-tailed godwits on their migratory journeys across western Europe, with the help of a network of citizen scientists. Icelandic godwits have undergone remarkable increases in population and range size and advances in migratory timings in recent decades, and we have used our lifelong tracking of individuals to explore how and why these changes have occurred. These findings have revealed the role that climate change can play in driving change in migratory systems, and why these effects are often more commonly observed in short-distance than long-distance migrant species.

Dr Jennifer Gill is Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK. Her research focusses on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds, with a particular focus on (and passion for) shorebirds. She currently serves as Chair of Board of the British Trust for Ornithology and has previously served as President of the British Ornithologists' Union.

Tomas Carlo - Effects of avian frugivory in the structure and resilience of plant communities

March 1, 2021

Associate Professor of Biology & Ecology at Penn State University, and associate researcher in the ecology department at the Museo de Historia Natural of the San Marcos National University in Lima, Peru

Birds are the quintessential frugivores (fruit-eaters) that mutualistically disperse the seeds of a myriad plant species that in turn help nourish them. In so doing, birds directly and indirectly influence important community and ecosystem-level processes with broad implications such as forest regeneration dynamics, carbon dynamics, and the expansion of niches. In this lecture I will discuss the factors influencing fruit choices, and the consequences of such behavioral patterns to tropical plant communities. Specifically, I will examine how morphological, physiological, and behavioral factors shape avian frugivory and seed dispersal on Neotropical landscapes that have been fragmented by deforestation. Our results show that generalist birds usually normally classified as "insectivores" are critical to trigger a speedy forest regeneration and the recovery of plant diversity on tropical landscapes that have been affected by human activities and habitat destruction.

Dr. Tomas Carlo is Associate Professor of Biology & Ecology at Penn State University, and associate researcher in the ecology department at the Museo de Historia Natural of the San Marcos National University in Lima, Peru. He is an evolutionary ecologist studying how processes of avian frugivory and seed dispersal shape communities and their resilience. He is native to Puerto Rico, where he started bird watching and nature photography as a child in the mid 80’s. He has conducted most of his work in Puerto Rico, but recently expanded his work to South America (Peru, Brazil, & Argentina) and the Dominican Republic. His main research encompasses studies of the influence of fruit resources on habitat quality for birds, the relationship between fruit preferences and seed dispersal services of birds, and more recently, on the effects of bird seed dispersal on the assembly of successional forests. He has pioneered the developed of stable-isotope marking for study if seed dispersal at large scales. Carlo has also studied the relationship between bird movements and landscape heterogeneity using models and experiments, and the effects of reductions and losses of seabird colonies to the high-order ecological interactions in the terrestrial ecosystem of Mona island. He serves in the editorial boards of Biotropica and Oecologia as Associate Editor and Handling Editor respectively.

Gabrielle Nevitt - Following the scent of avian olfaction

April 5, 2021

Professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC Davis

When John James Audubon proclaimed that birds lacked a sense of smell, the study of avian olfaction was doomed to suffer ridicule by ornithology text books for years to come. In recent years, ornithologists have renewed their interest into the sense of smell in birds leading to a new appreciation of their chemical ecology. The tubenosed seabirds (petrels and albatrosses) of the order Procellariiformes have among the most impressive olfactory abilities of any animal on earth. Species within this order spend most of their lives flying over the world’s oceans, returning to land each year or every other year, to breed and rear a single offspring. They tend to partner for life and show strong nest-site fidelity between breeding seasons. Much of my research career has focused on elucidating how procellariform species use olfaction to perform behaviors ranging from foraging and navigation to mate choice and individual recognition. My presentation will touch on some of our recent findings and hopefully convince you that olfaction is a rich field of study, and that questions related to sensory ecology are both important and applicable to scientific inquiry into the biology and conservation.

Dr. Gabrielle Nevitt is a leader in the field of vertebrate Chemical Ecology and has conducted pioneering research in the sense of smell in birds, focusing on procellariform seabirds. She graduated from Stanford University, received her PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington, and did postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. She has been a professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis for 24 years. She lives with her family on a rural property with various birds including emus.

Jennie Duberstein - Working across borders to conserve birds and habitats in the southwest US and northwest Mexico

May 3, 2021

Coordinator, Sonoran Joint Venture, USFWS

The southwest United States and northwest Mexico is a region of incredible biological diversity, as well as human diversity. Birds and habitats don't recognize international boundaries, and neither can our efforts to conserve then. Successful conservation requires cross-border collaboration that takes into account not just the biological needs, but also the social needs of the region. The Sonoran Joint Venture is a binational partnership the works to conserve the unique birds and habitats of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. Join Dr. Jennie Duberstein, Sonoran Joint Venture Coordinator, to learn how the SJV brings together partners from both sides of the border to develop and implement innovative mechanisms to address the biggest conservation priorities of the region and ensure a healthy landscape for birds, other wildlife, and people.

Dr. Jennie Duberstein is a wildlife biologist and conservation social scientist who has spent her professional career working to build partnerships for bird and habitat conservation across the United States and northwest Mexico. She has directed environmental education programs, developed community-based conservation projects in the U.S.-Mexico border region, developed and taught courses and workshops on bird identification, ecotourism, and bird monitoring, and has studied species including Double-crested Cormorant and wading birds in Sonora and Yellow-billed Cuckoos in Arizona. Jennie has also worked with young birders for many years, directing field courses, summer camps, and conferences, and generally helping to connect young people with opportunities and each other. Jennie received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Virginia Tech and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Gail Patricelli - Robots, Telemetry, & the Sex Lives of Wild Birds Using technology to study & protect an enigmatic bird

June 7, 2021

Professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis

The southwest United States and northwest Mexico is a region of incredible biological diversity, as well as human diversity. Birds and habitats don't recognize international boundaries, and neither can our efforts to conserve then. Successful conservation requires cross-border collaboration that takes into account not just the biological needs, but also the social needs of the region. The Sonoran Joint Venture is a binational partnership the works to conserve the unique birds and habitats of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. Join Dr. Jennie Duberstein, Sonoran Joint Venture Coordinator, to learn how the SJV brings together partners from both sides of the border to develop and implement innovative mechanisms to address the biggest conservation priorities of the region and ensure a healthy landscape for birds, other wildlife, and people.

Gail Patricelli is a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis.  Professor Patricelli and members of her lab study bioacoustics, the evolution of breeding behaviors, and the impacts of noise pollution on birds. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Art from Whitman College and PhD from the University of Maryland, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.

Past Programs

(NOC members, login to view and listen to presentations)

Dr. John Kricher: The influence of the Galapagos Islands on evolutionary thinking

December 2, 2002

The influence of the Galapagos Islands on evolutionary thinking. https://vimeo.com/198576752

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