April 18, 2018
Noah Perlut, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Environmental Studies, along with students Kylie Denny, an Animal Behavior major and Environmental Studies minor in the Class of ’18, and Kylee DiMaggio, a double major in Marine Biology and Environmental Science in the Class of ’19, recently presented at the Northeast Natural History Conference in Burlington, Vermont.
Denny is the first author of a paper titled “No reproductive benefits of natal philopatry in Dolichonyx oryzivorus (Bobolinks) and Passerculus sandwichensis (Savannah Sparrows)." Natal philopatry refers to the habit of some animals of returning to their place of birth to breed. Both bobolinks and Savannah sparrows engage in philopatry. Denny, Perlut and co-author Allan Strong of the University of Vermont tested for reproductive benefits associated with this behavior in females of the two bird species by examining field data from Shelburne, Vermont, across a 16-year span. No reproductive benefits were found.
DiMaggio is the first author of “Consequences of Divorce on Reproductive Success of Nesting Grassland Songbirds in Vermont.” Also co-authored by Perlut and Strong, this paper examines the complicated mating systems of bobolinks and Savannah sparrows. The researchers found that “divorce,” defined as a female choosing to nest with a male that is different from the male with whom she previously nested, did not influence reproductive success in either species.
Perlut and Strong also presented a jointly written paper at the conference. Titled “Natal dispersal: A Tool for Grassland Bird Conservation,” the paper discusses the use of statistics on natal philopatry among bobolinks and Savannah sparrows to craft engaging stories about bird lineages as a way to engage landowners in discussion about farming practices that balance production and grassland bird needs.
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