Spring 2014

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spring 2014

Spring semester has come to an end, and the Lab is preparing to scatter to the far corners of the globe for research and conservation activities! Lots of exciting news from these past few months, and lots of good things to look forward to.

Brock and Scott are already in the midst of field work with Brown Pelicans on the Gulf Coast, deploying GPS tracking units, and researching chick survival. Brock received a SeaGrant to bring on undergrad Lily Armstrong-Davies as a field assistant.


Jenny received a grant from the Animal Behavior Society to continue work on nectar robbery and hummingbird pollination this summer. She’ll be heading out to the field mid to late summer to Peru, radio telemetry equipment in hand!

Erik is preparing for three months in Papua New Guinea to study White-shouldered Fairy Wrens, funded in part with a grant he won from the American Ornithologists Union. He will be returning to the existing field site in Milne Bay, and Jordan will join him for a couple of weeks of galavanting through PNG’s little-known Western Province.

Sam advanced to PhD candidacy, and recently got back from a trip to WSU doing hormone analysis with the Schwabl lab. She and Tulane students Nicole Moody, Alex Gulachenski, and Roxy Franta are gearing up to head down under for the summer for the third year of our NSF-funded IRES project in Australia. Congrats to both Nicole and Alex for receiving Newcomb grants to supplement the summer research!

The Karubian and Derryberry labs teamed up on outreach by doing a workshop with middle school girls as part of the Tulane Girls in Science and Technology program (GIST) and by volunteering with kindergarteners from Kipp NOLA primary.

Luke also advanced to PhD candidacy this past Spring! He’s leaving soon for a 6 month field excursion to Ecuador where he will continue his work on pollen and seed dispersal of Oenocarpus. He will be joined in the field by Tulane undergrads Malinda Chambers and John Bailey Cox, who were awarded Newcomb and Taylor grants, respectively. A few of some videos from last summer were featured on a nature documentary website here and here.

The lab also received new grants from the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation and Tulane’s Center for Latin American Studies for work on fragments in Ecuador, and produced one new publication on patterns of amphibian diversity in Ecuador (Jongsma et. al 2014)

Nathan Frumkin successfully completed his honors thesis on Northern Mockingbirds, and was awarded the Cagle Prize and the Honors Scholar Prize. We are thrilled that Nathan will be remaining in the lab next year for a 4 + 1 Masters, to continue work on mockingbirds. With collaborators Renata Duraes Ribeiro and Elizabeth Derryberry, the lab received a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation to study how Northern Mockingbirds in New Orleans may be impacted by environmental lead.

We are happy to welcome incoming PhD student Zoe Diaz-Martinez into the lab! She will be starting in the fall semester and will be working on the seed dispersal project in Ecuador.

Jordan is looking forward to spending some Q.T. with the fairy-wrens this summer. He will be visiting Sam and the IRES crew in Australia’s Northern Territory before dropping in on Erik in Papua New Guinea. He will be back in the US in time to attend the Animal Behavior Society meeting in August.

Last but definitely not least, a hearty congratulations to our collaborator and friend Monica Gonzalez, Director of FCAT, for winning the prestigious Whitley Prize for her conservation work in Ecuador. Be sure to check out the short film on her work narrated by Sir David Attenborough – congratulations Monica!