MSc Student (2022-present)
Conserving migratory species, including many birds, poses a unique challenge. Each year, migratory birds travel between and occupy very distant areas, sometimes across continents. Not only does the distance make identifying and protecting their habitat more difficult, this is further complicated by the mixing that occurs when migrating individuals move between populations. A good knowledge of this mixing process, formally known as migratory connectivity, is essential to the development of effective conservation strategies.
For my Master’s degree, I will develop a network model for the migration of the Blackpoll Warbler. This common, but rapidly declining passerine breeds in north-western North America and overwinters at the northern end of South America. Using a combination of graph theory, data from light-level geolocators, and public databases of bird sightings, I will assess how populations of this species use different locations throughout their annual migratory cycle. Ultimately, I hope to describe the blackpoll’s migratory connectivity and identify the areas that should be prioritized for its conservation.