A long-term study that began in 1987, our Savannah sparrow field work on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy forms a cornerstone of our research on population dynamics and ecology of migratory birds (photo: S. Doucet)
Field research on Kent Island
Gray Jay gathering nest material
In Algonquin Park, Gray Jays have been declining over the last several decades and the Norris Lab is collaborating with Dan Strickland to understand the causes of this decline. Because Gray Jays nest during the late winter, they rely on cached food to attain breeding condition and raise their young.
Stable isotopes in animal tissue are chemical markers that can be used to track migration pathways. Here, monarch wings sampled from across North America are being processed for lab analysis.
Student training & research
The Norris Lab trains graduate and undergraduate students in field- and laboratory-based research. Here, NSERC undergraduate summer student, Katherine Smith, surveys the savannah sparrow population with Ryan Norris in 2013.
Experimental populations in seasonal environments
The Norris Lab uses the common fruitfly as a model organism to understand how seasonality affects our ability to predict population fluctuations over time. Our experimental system is composed of a breeding and non-breeding period, a common scenario for most wild animals living in seasonal environments.
Tracking birds using radio telemetry
One approach we use to track avian migration is radio telemetry. Here, a researcher is using hand-held antenna to understand the mechanisms birds use to navigate during migration.
We have been studying the migration routes and population dynamics of monarch butterflies in order to understand the factors causing the decline of this iconic species. Photo by D. Davis.
Tracking long-distance migration
The Norris Lab has documented migratory journeys of bird and butterflies. Here, a northern wheatear is fitted with a 0.5 gram geolocator that will track its migration from the new world Arctic to sub-Shahara Africa and back, a distance of over 15,000 km.