Chapel Garden

Current and Past Undergraduate Researchers

The University of Scranton

My research program on migratory and breeding birds provides numerous opportunities for undergraduate research (scroll down to see examples of current and past projects). I have both field and laboratory projects available for students during fall, spring and summer semesters. If you are interested in birds, bird blood, external and internal bird parasites, identification and quantification of invertebrates (bird food!), migration or breeding biology, museum skin preparation or data entry, I encourage you to stop by for a chat.

Go here to see a list of former undergraduate researchers who have gone on to graduate programs.

Fall, 2011

Jason Bohenek has begun a project examining use of non-native vegetation by migratory landbirds.

Spring, 2011
Faculty Student Research Program: Andrew Sobolak prepared avian study skins for our museum collection.

Faculty Student Research Program: Andrew Wynne collected data examining feather coloration in Common Yellowthroats. Andrew presented his results at the 2011 11th Annual Celebration of Student Scholars. To see Andrew's poster presentation go here.

Fall, 2010

Faculty Student Research Program: Andrew Sobolak prepared avian study skins for our museum collection.

Nate Stebbins continues work on his project examining fall fruit use by migrating Gray Catbirds.

Spring, 2010

Faculty Student Research Program: Paulina Maida continued work on her project examining parasite load and the fitness consequences of blood parasites in Gray Catbirds.

Faculty Student Research Program: Andrew Sobolak prepared avian study skins for our museum collection.

Faculty Student Research Program: Nate Stebbins continued working on his project examining fall fruit use by migrating Gray Catbirds.

Fall, 2009

Faculty Student Research Program: Paulina Maida began work on a project examining parasite load and the fitness consequences of blood parasites in Gray Catbirds.

Faculty Student Research Program: Nate Carr continued working on his project examining feather coloration in Gray Catbirds.

Faculty Student Research Program: Andrew Sobolak prepared avian study skins for our museum collection.

Faculty Student Research Program: Nate Stebbins began working on a project examining fall fruit use by migrating Gray Catbirds.

Summer, 2009

Nate Carr was awarded a 2009 President's Fellowship for Summer Research to begin work on feather coloration in Gray Catbirds.

Spring, 2009

Faculty Student Research Program: Greg Omerza spent the semester making differential leukocyte counts. Greg presented his work at the 2009 Celebration of Student Scholars, put on by The Office of Research Services at The University of Scranton. To see Greg's results go here.

Faculty Student Research Program: Maria Kern, Andrew Sobolak, Gary Valvano and Rachel Ward prepared avian study skins for our museum collection.

Faculty Student Research Program: Denise Hardisky began a project assessing avian plasma for triglyceride levels.

Faculty Student Research Program: Nate Carr and T.J. Zenzal worked on a feather coloration project in Gray Catbirds.

Faculty Student Research Program: Christine Barton began a project on feather coloration in Common Yellowthroats.

Fall, 2008

Faculty Student Research Program: T.J. Zenzal and Nate Carr assisted with fieldwork in our ongoing project examining how migrants use shrub/scrub habitats. Both T.J. and Nate, along with Lennon Tomaine, continued examining feather coloration in Gray Catbirds.

Faculty Student Research Program: Greg Omerza spent the semester making differential leukocyte counts.

Faculty Student Research Program: Maria Kern, Gary Valvano and Rachel Ward prepared avian study skins for our museum collection.

Spring, 2008

Faculty Student Research Program: Elizabeth Stephens identified leukocytes from blood samples collected during the 2007 field season.

Faculty Student Research Program: Nate Carr worked on a project to develop length/mass relationship equations for invertebrates collected at our study sites.

Faculty Student Research Program: T.J. Zenzal and Nate Carr assisted with fieldwork in our ongoing project examining how migrants use shrub/scrub habitats. Both T.J. and Nate, along with Lennon Tomaine, began projects examining feather coloration in Gray Catbirds. T.J. subsequently presented his results at the 2008 American Ornithologists' Union meeting in Portland. Go here to see T.J.'s poster.

Faculty Student Research Program: Mike Faris continued his project examining feather coloration in American Redstarts, looking for relationships between feather coloration and correlates of fitness.

Fall, 2007

Christiana Beatty, John Contreras and T.J. Zenzal assisted with fieldwork examining use and the fitness consequences of using shrub/scrub and forested habitats. This work took place at Lackawanna State Park, where we perform most of our field data collection.

Faculty Student Research Program: Mike Faris began a project examining feather coloration in American Redstarts, looking for relationships between feather coloration and correlates of fitness.

Faculty Student Research Program: Nate Carr and Luke Murphy identified and quantified invertebrates collected during the 2007 field season.

Faculty Student Research Program: Denise Hardisky spent the fall semester identifying and quantifying leukocytes from blood samples collected during the 2007 field season.

Faculty Student Research Program: Maria Kern, Fechnel Michel and Rachel Ward prepared museum specimens for the Vertebrate Biology collection.

Spring, 2007

Faculty Student Research Program : Robert Podlinski, Dustin Partridge, Carrie Squeo and T.J. Zenzal assisted with fieldwork examining use and the fitness consequences of using shrub/scrub and forested habitats.

Meghan Todd, Dustin Partridge and Carrie Squeo presented some of our results describing habitat use and invertebrate abundance at the Lehigh Valley Ecology and Evolution Symposium. Dan Foster attended the same conference, presenting results of his project examining bird community changes in response to secondary succession. Go here to see a pdf of Dan's poster. Dan's poster won the award for Best Undergraduate Poster.

Meghan, Dustin and Carrie also presented their results at the 2007 Celebration of Student Scholars, put on by The Office of Research Services at The University of Scranton.

Joe Brague presented results of an inter-sex comparison of forelimb morphology and forelimb microarchitecture in Catharus fuscescens (Veery) at the 2007 Celebration of Student Scholars.

Fall, 2006

Faculty Student Research Program: Meghan Todd, Lisa Monsour and Alejandro Melendez spent the fall semester identifying and quantifying invertebrates collected during the 2006 field season.

Faculty Student Research Program: Robert Podlinski, Michael Paz and Jennifer Carroll counted white blood cells.

Faculty Student Research Program: Gina Radzwich, Jeremy Tarife and Carrie Squeo prepared museum specimens for the Vertebrate Biology collection during the fall of 2006.

Summer, 2006

Meghan Todd was awarded a 2006 President's Fellowship for Summer Research. Her project is a comparison of invertebrate abundance between the forested and shrub/scrub habitats at my study site. She will use data collected during both the 2005 and 2006 seasons to make her comparisons. Preliminary results from mist-netting and avian census data suggest that birds use shrubby habitat more during spring migration than forested habitat. One possible reason might be differences in invertebrate abundance (bird food) between these different habitats. Meghan is making a detailed comparison of invertebrate abundance between habitats along with documenting temporal variation in arthropod abundance and diversity during the spring migratory period. Her results will contribute significantly to our understanding of why birds are using the habitats they are.

Melissa Thompson won the 2006 Sawyer Award and spent the summer assisting in the field and making differential white blood cell counts from slides we collected during the spring/summer 2006 field seasons.

Spring, 2006

Faculty Student Research Program: Jennifer Carroll, Joanna Pearson, Siobhan Maher, Robert Podlinski and Michael Paz identified and quantified white blood cells from samples collected during the 2005 field season.

Jessica Phillipy finished her Honor's Thesis on Gray Catbird immune function and arrival timing. She identified a number of relationships between timing of arrival at the migratory destination (breeding grounds) and measures of immune function.

Faculty Student Research Program: Dustin Partridge and Carrie Sgueo identified and quantified invertebrates collected during the 2005 field season. They also worked on constructing length vs. mass regression models for invertebrates.

Dan Foster presented results of his research on bird community change in response to secondary succession at the 2006 Celebration of Student Scholars, put on by The Office of Research Services at The University of Scranton.

Fall, 2005

Faculty Student Research Program: Danielle Norman, Justin Lowe and Ashley Gonsky identified and quantified avian white blood cells from samples collected during the 2005 spring migratory and breeding periods in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Jessica Phillipy worked on an Honor's Thesis examining the relationship between immunological condition in Gray Catbirds and timing of arrival at breeding grounds in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Faculty Student Research Program: Dustin Partridge and Meaghan Todd identified and quantified invertebrates collected during the 2005 field season.

Summer, 2005

Dan Foster was awarded a 2005 President's Fellowship for Summer Research to examine bird community changes in response to secondary succession. Dan's project utilizes aspects of my ongoing PA DCNR-funded project on habitat use by migratory birds in addition to features of his own design. A major objective is a long-term (19 year) examination of bird community composition (based on capture data generated by the PA DCNR project and additional nets Dan and I set and ran throughout the summer) to community composition as determined in previous years based on Dr. Mike Carey's long-term banding within the area. Dan's project was accepted for presentation as a poster at the Fourth International Ornithological Conference held in Veracruz during October, 2006.

Faculty Student Research Program: Andrew Delle Donna, Dan Foster, Mario Giordano and Melissa Thompson assisted with our spring migration work and collaborated on a summer project examining bird community dynamics relative to old-field succession in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Spring, 2005

Faculty Student Research Program: Melissa Thompson. Melissa identified and quantified white blood cells from samples collected from migrating birds in northern Michigan.

Faculty Student Research Program: Joanna Pearson. Joanna identified/quantified invertebrates collected during the 2001 field season in Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula.

Fall, 2005

Faculty Student Research Program: Mark Beyer and Kristen Reitano. Mark and Kristen identified and quantified white blood cells from samples collected from migrating birds in northern Michigan.

Faculty Student Research Program: Lauren Hughes and Marie Yezzo. Lauren and Marie identified/quantified invertebrates collected during the 2004 field season.

Faculty Student Research Program: Eric Ledesma. Eric performed a literature search for a project on parentage in Gray Catbirds.

Spring/Summer, 2004

Faculty Student Research Program: Travis Dayon. Travis helped capture birds and bugs in late spring/early summer, 2004.

Faculty Student Research Program: David Rempe. David helped capture birds and bugs in late spring/early summer, 2004.

Fall, 2004

Faculty Student Research Program: Amber Thompson. Amber identified and quantified invertebrates collected in northern Michigan.

The University of Southern Mississippi



Brittney Hemba, undergraduate Honors Thesis at The University of Southern Mississippi. Carotenoid Pigmentation and Reproductive Performance in Male and Female American Redstarts, Setophaga ruticilla breeding in Michigan 's eastern Upper Peninsula, 2002.

Rachel Bru, undergraduate Honors Thesis at The University of Southern Mississippi. Song Complexity, Territory and Reproductive Success of the American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla, 2001.Rachel has recently finished Master's Degree at The University of Southern Mississippi where she studied the effect of song on migrating female Indigo Buntings.

Sam Pierce, undergraduate Special Problems Research at The University of Southern Mississippi. Fleshy Fruit Consumption by Fall Landbird Migrants, University of Southern Mississippi , 1999. Sam is continuing his studies as a graduate student at The University of Memphis.