Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Leighton Reid, Ph.D.

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Leighton Reid, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow (Restoration Ecology) Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Monitoring bird nesting success over time at Shaw Nature Reserve. Reid is a postdoctoral fellow in restoration ecology in MBG’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development; his research interests include the effects of forest restoration projects on bird populations. Other CCSD scientists may help to advise the student doing this project. For the past seven years, a citizen scientist and many volunteers have maintained 86 bluebird nest boxes across Shaw Nature Reserve, a natural area near Saint Louis. They have maintained careful records of the bird species using the boxes and their nesting success (number of eggs, number of fledglings, etc). This untapped dataset provides the opportunity to learn how bird communities and nesting success have changed over time and whether those changes can be related to environmental conditions or management actions, providing important educational material for Shaw Nature Reserve and potentially influencing future management decisions. Student responsibilities in this REU will include coordinating fieldwork with the bird team to clean and monitor the nest boxes during the 2017 breeding season, entering and proofing a backlog of records from previous years, and analyzing trends over time in relation to climate and land management data. Prospective REU students should have an interest in applied ecology, the physical and mental ability to work outdoors in 100+ degree heat, and some background in quantitative analysis.

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