UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY

FIELD ASSISTANTS NEEDED


BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY OF CLIFF SWALLOWS




I am conducting a long term study of social behavior in cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), sparrow-sized birds that build mud nests on the sides of rocky cliffs and canyons. I am interested in the costs and benefits of coloniality and the evolutionary consequences of group living. My research focuses on predator avoidance behavior, ectoparasitism, individual reproductive success, intraspecific brood parasitism, social facilitation of foraging, colony choice decisions, demography, and effects of an arborvirus associated with these birds and their parasites. My study site is in western Nebraska (about 200 miles northeast of Denver) near the University of Nebraska's Cedar Point Biological Station. This summer the major emphasis will be capture, banding, and recapture of thousands of cliff swallows at colonies of different sizes, enabling us to follow the histories of many known individuals.

My 2007 field season will extend from approximately 20 May to 10 July. For this period I am recruiting volunteer assistants who are seriously interested in learning how to conduct field research in behavioral ecology. Particularly for students considering graduate school in biology, this is a superlative opportunity to experience field research. For students who are presently juniors, this is also an excellent chance to conduct summer research that can lead to a senior project or thesis during their senior year. There is no salary, but room and board at the Cedar Point Biological Station is provided. Undergraduates at all levels may be eligible for an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates fellowship. For more details contact:

Prof. Charles R. Brown
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Tulsa
600 South College Avenue
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104-3189
phone: (918) 631-3943 (office)
(918) 355-2974 (home)
email: charles-brown@utulsa.edu