Friday, November 15, 2013

Yo Strat! Where ya been? 

Natural Gas
I last posted in August 2012. I was wrapping up the field work associated with the natural gas project. We were catching birds and seeing if there was an association between the density of natural gas wells and (1) levels of glutathione S-transferase, a detoxifying enzyme and (2) levels of mercury and barium in feathers. All birds were captured near stream sides in the breeding season. The model was this: if contaminants from natural gas operations were making their way into surface waters they would bioaccumulate in aquatic insects and, when these insects emerged, they would be eaten by birds. 

How did it turn out?  Find out just after winter break.  Oh, the suspense.

GMS Habitats in Pennsylvania
The past season I was working on a state-funded grant examining biodiversity and food webs in grasslands, meadows and savannas (GMS). The state owns and manages GMS habitats in game lands and state parks. Each land manager has a slightly different take on how to manage the habitat.  For example, the SGL near Francis Walter Dam is managed for pheasant and has food plots for them and other wildlife. Another SGL near Cresco, PA is essentially shrub land - bad for pheasant but great for deer. So we are surveying a large number of GMS sites and looking at the numbers of bird species and their abundance. This research is funded for another year and you can find more information here (including how to help). 

Amazonian Birds
It has been years since I've done work in the Amazon but still lots to write on. I've learned the basics of Bayesian analysis in R and enough to dig up some old data to get out. One paper was published this past March in the Journal of Field Ornithology (here). Now working on a paper comparing the habitats used by terrestrial insectivorous birds to habitats available in forest fragments. Presented this at the AOU meeting in Chicago. One of the best professional meetings I've been to!  We decided to publish a series of papers together, produce a review, and I was invited to coauthor a book chapter. Busy busy busy.

So I'll be posting more often, even if just for me, and getting my writing mojo on!