ATHENS – Two UGA graduate students will discuss their graduate research regarding two species of Neotropical migrant songbird species, Black-throated Blue Warblers and Canada Warblers at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.
Ryan Chitwood and Sam Merker, both Master’s students at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will discuss their research regarding migratory songbirds in southern Appalachia. Mounting evidence suggests that climate change is shifting species’ ranges poleward, but few studies have attempted to uncover the mechanisms that drive range shifts. Sam and Ryan will discuss two different approaches they are using to address this issue when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 2, at Sandy Creek Nature Center. Ryan will describe how long-term study of Black-throated Blue Warbler demography has provided key insight into how changes in within populations contribute to range shifts. Sam will discuss experimental approaches he used to pinpoint specific mechanisms that may limit the distribution of Canada Warblers and how these mechanisms may be contributing to shifting ranges. Finally both will discuss the implications of their research and the future of research on this topic.