People

Current postdocs and visiting researchers

Sam Merker is a postdoc working on data analysis for the Connecticut Bird Atlas.

Within the next year, I anticipate advertising postdoc positions to work on our saltmarsh habitat projects. If you have interest in this topic, please let me know.

 

Current graduate students

Samantha Apgar is a PhD student studying behavioral and developmental factors that affect extinction risk in coastal marsh birds.

Mei-Ling (Emily) Feng is a PhD student studying bird conservation.

Franco Gigliotti is a PhD student studying saltmarsh birds and their habitat.

Brett Henry is in EEB’s BS/MS program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology.

Kelsey Miles is a PhD student studying insects in urban settings.

Valerie Mingrone is in EEB’s BS/MS program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, and has been helping to review videos of saltmarsh bird nests.

Ketki Samel is a PhD student studying bird conservation biology in urban settings.

 

Current undergraduate students

Carlin Eswarakumar is conducting independent research on saltmarsh invertebrates, and has previously helped to review videos of saltmarsh bird nests and with the EntoGEM project.

Eli Harris is working on the EntoGEM project.

Sophia Lebron is a McNair Apprentice helping with our saltmarsh restoration work.

Katie Mercado is working on our saltmarsh bird research.

Jerry Su is conducting independent research on the captive bird trade, and has previously helped with both the Connecticut Bird Atlas and our saltmarsh bird research.

Melissa Tian is working on data entry for the Connecticut Bird Atlas.

 

Former graduate students

Trina Bayard is a former PhD student who studied breeding site selection behavior in saltmarsh sparrows. Her dissertation can be read here.  She is currently the Director for Conservation at Audubon Washington.

Alyssa Borowske is a former PhD student who studied how breeding systems affect the life cycles of tidal marsh sparrows.  Her dissertation can be read here. She currently works for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

Dan Britton is a former student in EEB’s BS/MS program and the first to survive having Chris as his advisor.  He is currently working in the solar power industry.

Chris Field is a former EEB BS/MS, PhD student and postdoc who studied the demography of tidal marsh birds and coastal conservation planning (among other things). His dissertation can be read here. He is currently an Analyst in Natural Resources Policy at the Congressional Research Service.

Eliza Grames is a former PhD student studying mechanisms underlying area sensitive occurrence patterns in forest birds and insect declines. She is currently a postdoc at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Jason Hill is a former EEB MS student who studied the movement behavior and survival of saltmarsh sparrows.  His thesis can be read here.  He went on to a PhD study of grassland sparrows at Penn State and now works for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Erin King is a former student in EEB’s BS/MS program (with Margaret Rubega as her adviser).  She also worked on our saltmarsh sparrow studies for several years and is currently a biologist for the USFWS.

Sue Meiman is a former MS student, who worked on the factors influencing habitat occupancy in saltmarsh sparrows.  Her thesis can be read here.  She is currently the Project Leader for the Institute for Wildlife Studies’ San Clemente Sage Sparrow project.

Manette Sandor is a former PhD student, co-advised by Morgan Tingley, who studied the effects of climate change on plant-bird interactions in California. Her dissertation can be read here. She is currently a Frontiers Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University.

Danielle Schwartz is in former student in EEB’s BS/MS program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. She studied the availability of data on insects in the ornithological literature.

Emma Shelly is a former MS student who worked on our tidal marsh bird study.  She currently works for the Hawai`i Nature Center.

Michael Stankov is a former student in EEB’s BS/MS program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. He studied the conservation of birds in rice fields. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Sacred Heart University.

Ben Townson is a former student in EEB’s BS/MS program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. He studied the effects of forest fragmentation on leaf litter insect communities, and the distribution of crayfish in parts of western Connecticut.

Theresa Wisneskie is a former MS student who studied wetland birds in California rice fields and developed a systematic map focused on farmland intensification.

 

Former undergraduate students

Courtney Andreozzi worked on the EntoGEM project, helping to review literature on insect population change.

Patrick Bukowski helped with invertebrate identification for our saltmarsh bird studies and did independent research on waterbird use of agricultural fields.

Maria Borucinska-Begg studied the way infectious disease and climate change are reported in the media.

Rebecca Bullers worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Kathleen Callery studied telomere length in American kestrels for her undergraduate thesis.  She is now continuing that work as an MS student at the University of Idaho.

Meghan Connolly studied the way that scientific information on climate change is portrayed in the media for her honors thesis.

Christine Conte conducted independent research on the behaviour of zebras and wolves (not together) in zoos for her honors thesis.  She left UConn for an internship at the California Wolf Center and then grad school at the University of Maine.

Kristen Craven worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Bella Cusano worked on several lab projects: reviewing videos of saltmarsh bird nests, reviewing literature on insect population change, and data entry for the Connecticut Bird Atlas.

Nate Davino conducted independent research on pore density in saltmarsh-nesting sparrow eggs.

Will Demott studied the effects of weather on tree swallow roosts.

Leilani Duarte worked on the EntoGEM project, helping to review literature on insect population change.

Martha Ellis conducted independent research on mute swan population dynamics and behavior in our group.  She went on to complete an NSF-supported PhD at the University of Montana and now works for the US Forest Service.

Samantha Evans worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Peter Fahey worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Max Fenner worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Ryan Fiddler worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Ilanna Gibson conducted independent research on the factors that affect littering for her honors thesis. She went on to postgraduate work at Brooklyn Law School.

Vicky Heyse worked with our saltmarsh sparrow nesting data and spent a summer in the field working on sparrows.  She went on to an AmeriCorps position in California as an Education Programs Coordinator.

Eoin Horning-Kane worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Selena Humphreys conducted independent research on saltmarsh sparrow nest building behavior for her honors thesis.  She now works in environmental education.

Helena Ives worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Marisa Karasik worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Cassidy Kendall helped with insect identification for our forest fragmentation research and screened papers for EntoGEM.

Mike Kot studied area-sensitivity in seaside sparrows for his honors research.

Kunzika worked on the EntoGEM project, helping to review literature on insect population change.

Emily Lewson studied the influence of tidal marshes on house prices in coastal Connecticut for her honors thesis.

Alex Minalga studied plumage variation in saltmarsh sparrows for his honors thesis.

Aaron Mueller worked with Manette Sandor on a study of fruit-bearing plant and berry interactions in Northwest Park, Connecticut.

Erika Norton studied cactus wren vocalizations for her honors thesis.  She went on to an MS program at William & Mary.

Sara Oraee worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Emma Poryanda studied the microbiome of eggs in ovenbird nests for her honors thesis.

Michelle Przybylek studied the conservation value of Christmas tree plantations.

Vigyaan Ramadhin worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Ben Ranelli studied nest visitation synchrony by ovenbird pairs.

Aaron Rivera helped to review videos of saltmarsh bird nests.

Jack Robbins worked on a lab project to map the global scientific literature on the effects of sea-level rise on birds.

Chris Roberts worked on Alyssa Borowske’s study of plumage condition in saltmarsh sparrows.

Sarah Rumsey worked on a historical bird occurrence data set from northwest Connecticut.

Isabella Sampedro worked on the EntoGEM project, helping to review literature on insect population change.

Piper Stepule studied the effects of different bird feeder designs on bird use.

Michael Stankov studied causes of endangerment in wetland birds for his undergraduate thesis. He is now and MS student at UConn.

Kira Sullivan-Wiley studied saltmarsh sparrow nest attendance.  She went on to an MS at Columbia and a PhD program at Boston University.

Tyrone Tan worked on Sam Apgar’s study of tidal marsh bird responses to nest flooding.

Robert Turnbull studied understory forest birds in Peru for his undergraduate thesis.

Nomi Vilvovsky studied the way infectious disease and climate change are reported in the media.

Evin Zhao worked on Manette Sandor’s study of fruit-bearing plant and berry interactions, helping to identify which seeds birds eat.

Zachary Zweisler modeled saltmarsh sparrow population viability for his honors thesis.

 

Other former lab members

Carina Gjerdrum helped run our saltmarsh sparrow research for the first 3 years of the project.  Prior to that she earned her MSc at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where she did some very cool research on tufted puffins.  She now works as a seabird biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service in Nova Scotia.

Brian Klingbeil is a former postdoc who worked on coastal conservation planning using our many coastal marsh data sets.

Girma Mengesha is a former PhD student from Addis Ababa University who visited our group in 2012, and worked on waterbird populations in Ethiopia.

Kate Ruskin is a former postdoc who worked on tidal marsh bird demography in relation to Hurricane Sandy and other factors.  She is now a lecturer at the University of Maine.

Valerie Steen is former postodc who worked on bird distribution modelling and the use of citizen science data for the Connecticut Bird Atlas.

Iurii Strus is a researcher from the Ukraine who visited our group in 2019-20, and worked on species distribution models for shorebirds.

Oriane Taft is a former postdoc who worked on a major review of waterbird occurrence in agricultural habitats.  She is currently based in Oregon where she works in ecological consulting.

Mike Whalen is a former lab technician who worked on our Long Island Sound climate sentinels project.

 

Other collaborators

Jonathan Cohen is a professor at the SUNY-ESF, and is a co-PI on the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).

Chris Hill is a professor at Coastal Carolina University who has helped us to study paternity patterns and winter ecology of saltmarsh sparrows.

Tom Hodgman is a wildlife biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife, and is a co-PI on the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).

Min Huang is a wildlife biologist at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and is a collaborator on several projects throughout the state of Connecticut.

Adrienne Kovach is a professor at the University of New Hampshire, and is a co-PI on the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).

Brian Olsen is a professor at the University of Maine, and is a co-PI on the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).

Michael Reed is a professor at Tufts University and collaborates with Chris on various topics.  They frequently get lost when driving places because they’re talking rather than paying attention to where they’re going.

Greg Shriver is a professor at the University of Delaware, and is a co-PI on the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).