Winter 2013 – 14

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winter 2013 – 14

It’s been a busy winter break and start of the semester for the Karubian lab! First off, we’d like to welcome Roxanne Franta (4+1 MS student) and this year’s NSF IRES fellows Alex Gulachenski and Nicole Moody to the lab.

In December, Jordan took a trip to Ecuador to attend FCAT’s second annual Environmental Fair in La Y de la laguna, in the Mache-Chindul Reserve. With the theme of ‘Migratory Bird Conservation’, the fair included poetry competitions, a migratory bird costume exhibition, and gowns made of recycled material. The event was attended by over 1200 local residents. Here are a few pictures from the event:


Though it’s only January, the Karubian lab has already started preparing for upcoming field seasons. Jenny has been applying to grants to fund her field season in Peru this summer, while simultaneously working up a manuscript on nectar production and hummingbird pollination of an Andean plant species and refining her lobster costume for Mardi Gras! Brock and Scott are eagerly awaiting the arrival new batch of GPS transmitters to track Brown Pelican movement this year, while continuing work on analyzing the population genetic structure of Brown Pelicans on the Gulf Coast. Luke is planning on defending his prospectus this spring and head off to Ecuador for field work this summer.

Sam has spent the winter break in Australia continuing field work on Red-backed Fairy-wrens, where they are finally breeding. Erik has recently finished genotyping White-shouldered Fairy-wrens captured from his work during the summer of 2013 in Papua New Guinea. He is working on setting up a new field site for 2014 and is looking for assistants to join him in the field. See the following link for more info: Field assistants in Papua New Guinea.

On the publishing front, check out some recent articles from the Karubian lab:


Karubian, J. and R. Durães. Impacts of mating behavior on plant-animal seed dispersal mutualisms: a case study from a Neotropical lek-breeding bird. In Sexual Selection: Insights from the Neotropics (eds. R. Macedo and G. Machado). Elsivier Press. Pp. 365-390. PDF


Carrasco, L., Berg, K. S., Litz, J., Cook, A. and J. Karubian. 2013. Avifauna of the Mache-Chindul Reserve, northwest Ecuador. Neotropical Ornithology 24: 331-324. PDF | Appendix


Walter, S.T., M.R. Carloss, T.J. Hess, G. Athrey, and P.L. Leberg. 2013. Brown Pelican movement patterns and population structure. Condor 115:788-799. PDF


Walter, S.T., M.R. Carloss, T.J. Hess, and P.L. Leberg. 2013. Hurricane, habitat degradation, and land loss effects on Brown Pelican nesting colonies. Journal of Coastal Research 29:187-195. PDF

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Fall 2013

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fall 2013

Welcome to the newly redesigned Karubian lab webpage! Special thanks to Jess Henkel of Caz Taylor’s lab and Thomas Cheek for helping getting it set up, and Murray Cooper for letting us use his amazing photos.

Lots of news to catch up on…

First off, check out these latest publications out of the Karubian lab: Effects of forest disturbance and habitat loss on avian communities in a Neotropical biodiversity hotspot by Durães et al. (PDF) in Biological Conservation and Female ornamentation in Malurus fairy-wrens: a hidden evolutionary gem for understanding female perspectives on social and sexual selection (PDF) by Jordan Karubian in Emu.

This August marked the inaugural offering of EBIO 466: Tropical Field Biology and Conservation, an intensive two week field course in Ecuador for Tulane undergraduates. The class was led by Jordan Karubian and Renata Durães with Luke Browne as the teaching assistant. Read news coverage of the course here and here and read more about the class on the Courses page.

Karubian et al.’s paper Mating behavior drives seed dispersal in the long-wattled umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger (PDF) won the 2013 Biotropica Award for Excellence in Tropical Biology and Conservation. Congratulations!

Jordan and collaborators received grants from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for community-based research partnerships in Ecuador and Papau New Guinea. Jordan also gave presentations at the University of Maine for the Sustainable Solutions Initiative, and here locally to the New Orleans Audubon Society at the Five Happiness Chinese Restaurant.

Scott has been awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society to research the effects of hypoxia and prey distribution on Brown Pelican foraging ecology and demographic processes. This funding will allow us to continue our fine-scale tracking of pelicans in the northern Gulf of Mexico via GPS tracking units.

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June 2013

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on June 2013

Summer is in full swing, and the lab is scattered far and wide.  Jenny is in Peru working on her hummingbirds and flowerpiercers.  Luke Browne is in Ecuador conducting seed dispersal research in Bilsa Biological Station. Sam Lantz is in Australia working with red-backed fairy-wrens and coordinating our International Research Experience for Students (IRES) project.  Erik Enbody has spent time in Australia with Sam learning the ropes and is now in Papua New Guinea working with white-shouldered fairy-wrens.  Scott is in Europe advancing his interdisciplinary research.  Closer to home, Brock Geary has been working on brown pelicans and other seabirds nesting on Gulf of Mexico barrier islands.  Jordan and family have returned from a semester in Brazil, and are gearing up for their first Tropical Biology field course to Ecuador, in August.


This has been a productive few months for the lab.  We received a grant from the USFWS ‘Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act’ program for continued work in Ecuador, and a number of smaller research grants and fellowships.  We also had two publications come out, one on flamingo aggression in Zoo Biology (headed up by Mitch Hinton and Anne Bendelow, two Tulane undergraduates) and one on red-backed fairy-wren geographic variation in BMC Evolutionary Ecology, headed up by Dan Baldessarre.  Presentations were made at the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation meeting in June in Costa Rica and the Wilson Ornithological Society meetings in May, in Williamsburg VA.

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April 2013

Posted by on Apr 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April 2013

A good month for student research! Sam, Luke, and Mitch all presented posters at the annual Tulane SSE Research Day poster session. Luke also received funding from the Explorer’s Club, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane, the Tinker Foundation, and the American Ornithologist’s Union for his upcoming field season in Ecuador. He presented work in collaboration with Kym Ottewell and Jordan Karubian on the genetic and demographic consequences of forest fragmentation in Ecuador forOenocarpus bataua as part of Tulane’s Ecolunch seminar series.

Jenny’s paper ‘Reproductive Biology of the Yungas Manakin (Chiroxiphia boliviana) in Manu National Park, Peru’ was published in Ornitologia Neotropical.

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February 2013

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on February 2013

Scott’s manuscript ‘Hurricane, Habitat Degredation, And Land Loss Effects On Brown Pelican Nesting Colonies’ has been accepted to the Journal of Coastal Research. Furthermore, Scott has submitted the full grant proposal to National Geographic requesting funds to continue our GPS tracking work with Brown Pelicans in Alabama and Louisiana. This work seeks to gain an understanding of pelican foraging behaviors within the context of hypoxia-induced shifts in the distribution of the pelican’s dominant prey, the Gulf Menhaden.

Jordan was appointed to the Kylene and Brad Beers Professorship in Social Entrepreneurship. This appointment recognizes his commitment to blending community engagement with scholarship. Furthermore, Jordan and his family have recently arrived in Brazil, where they will spend several months of this Third Year Leave in the city of Florianopolis.

Finally, we’ll have two new PhD students in the lab this fall. Erik Enbody plans to conduct his dissertation research on the behavioral ecology of the White-shouldered Fairy-wren in Papua New Guinea. And, Brock Geary will focus his research on Gulf of Mexico Waterbirds. Welcome to them both!

Otherwise, we all enjoyed another Mardi Gras!

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January 2013

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on January 2013

Scott presented the talk ‘Brown Pelican Foraging and Nesting in Relation to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’ at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in New Orleans, LA.  Furthermore, Scott submitted the manuscript ‘Hurricane, Habitat Degradation, and Land Loss Effects on Brown Pelican Nesting Colonies’ to theJournal of Coastal Research.

On the international front, Sam has recently returned from three weeks collecting red-backed fairy wren data during the wet season in Australia.

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