Sarah Mueller

PhD Student (2021-present)

For my PhD, I am studying post-fledging survival and movement patterns of Savannah sparrows on Kent Island, NB. Demographic information covering the full annual cycle of a species is crucial to our understanding of population dynamics and is necessary to address population declines. However, we often lack this information for juvenile migratory birds, particularly in the post-fledging period after juveniles leave the nest but before they depart for migration. Mortality rates of fledglings are often much higher than in other life stages because inexperienced young birds are more vulnerable to predators and at higher risk of starvation. These pressures drive movement patterns of fledglings as they seek food and shelter. I plan to evaluate the causes and consequences of variation in fledgling survival and movement patterns.

I completed my B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Puget Sound in 2017, then worked as a seasonal avian field technician for a few years on a variety of projects including banding in Point Reyes CA; nest-searching in the northern Sierra Nevadas, Montana, and Australia; and monitoring acorn woodpeckers in Carmel Valley, CA. When not working, I can be found knitting, hiking, birding, or baking.


Hope, A. G., R. B. Stephens, S. D. Mueller, V. V. Tkach, and J. R. Demboski. 2019. Speciation of North American pygmy shrews (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae) supports spatial but not temporal congruence of diversification among boreal species. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 129:41–60. doi: 10.1093/biolinnean/blz139.

Skinner, H. M., A. M. Durso, L. A. Neuman-Lee, S. L. Durham, S. D. Mueller, and S. S. French. 2016. Effects of Diet Restriction and Diet Complexity on Life History Strategies in Side-Blotched Lizards (Uta stansburiana). Journal of Experimental Zoology 325:626–637. doi: 10.1002/jez.2056

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