Avian Behavior and Ecology in Managed Ecosystems

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Avian Behavior and Ecology in Managed Ecosystems

We study the behavior and ecology of birds and how birds contribute to ecological functioning and ecosystem services and disservices. We are particularly interested in patterns of bird activity in managed landscapes dominated by agriculture. How do we make landscapes more hospitable for native species that contribute significant ecosystem services and less hospitable to non-native species and those that cause ecosystem disservices? An exciting new project in the lab, in collaboration with fungal ecologist Laura Aldrich-Wolfe at North Dakota State University, focuses on the role of birds in transporting fungi between coffee fields and natural forest in Costa Rica. Fungi can be beneficial or detrimental to plant growth and bird transport of fungi from coffee fields to forest may influence the growth and survival of native plant species. Another line of research investigates bird activity in fruit production systems. For example, with funding from the National Science Foundation, we have investigated the value of nest boxes to encourage the presence of predatory birds in cherry orchards and blueberry fields. Predatory birds consume and deter fruit pests. An important component of that work has been research on the economic benefits and costs of bird activity in fruit crops through collaborations with economists and sociologists. We are currently pursuing funding to investigate effects of urbanization on bird communities and to investigate the potential role of American kestrels in enhancing food safety in cherry orchards.

Catherine Lindell
Associate Professor
Integrative Biology Department
Center for Global Change and Earth Observations (CGCEO)
517-884-1241 (CGCEO)
517-353-9874 (Integrative Biology)

Editor-in-Chief Ornithological Applications, clindell@americanornithology.org