CFAES Give Today

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Avian Research Recognized at State Conference

Oct. 28, 2016
SENR Graduate Student Alicia Brunner presenting at the 2016 Ohio Avian Research Conference (Photo credit: Casey Tucker)
School of Environment and Natural Resources graduate students Alicia Brunner and Kristie Stein were recognized with the Dr. David R. Osborne Research Award for their presentations at the 2016 Ohio Avian Research Conference held October 22, 2016 at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. The award recognizes excellence in graduate research focusing on furthering our understanding, or the conservation, of migratory birds.
Alicia Brunner was recognized for her presentation on research she is conducting on habitat utilization of Swainson's Warblers and seasonal changes. She presented, "The Effect of Soil Moisture on Swainson's Warblers Nonbreeding Home Range Size.” Her research finds that birds wintering in the tropics shift their habitat use in the annual dry season, which has implications for how they will respond to declines in rainfall due to climate change.  The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's Pete Marra is a collaborator on this research.

Alicia Brunner presenting her research on Swainson's Warblers 
at the 2016 Ohio Avian Research Conference.                                                                                                               

Kristie Stein was also recognized at the conference for her presentation, “Argos Satellite Tags Reveal Fall Migration Routes and Wintering Locations for a State Threatened Heron." This research focuses on Black-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), which are listed as a threatened species in Ohio and fills a critical gap in understanding of migration routes and wintering locations of Lake Erie Black-crowned Night-Herons. Insight into the movement patterns and habitat requirements of night-herons during the nonbreeding season gathered as part of this research has implications for the conservation of this threatened species.  This research is supported with funding from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Dave Sherman of Ohio Division of Wildlife and Kristie Stein taking standard morphological measurements,
banding a Black-crowned Night-Heron with an alphanumeric colorband and attaching an Argos satellite tag to track
migration routes.
Both graduate researchers are advised by Christopher Tonra, assistant professor of avian wildlife ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University.
The one-day conference, held annually brings together professional ornithologists from museums and other academic institutions, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, government agencies, as well as non-professional researchers and citizen scientists from all over Ohio to present and share their research.

Sponsors for this year's conference included Denison University, The Nature Conservancy and Columbus Audubon.