Jessica Malisch, assistant professor of biology, recently gave an invited talk at Williams College titled, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now? Predictors of Facultative Altitudinal Migration in Mountain White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha).”
In this presentation, Malisch discussed notable declines in bird population density over the last 40 year. The reason for decline is unknown but both climate change and habitat loss have been implicated. Malisch’s presentation focused on her research on the Mountain White-crowned Sparrow in Tioga Pass Meadow, California. The presentation covered environmental variables, physiological variables, and reproductive success in this population of birds. Understanding how environmental conditions interact with physiological parameters to determine annual reproductive success and year-to-year survival is key to understanding how bird populations are negotiating resource challenges.