Author Archives: Ben Vernasco

Congratulations to Meredith!

Meredith Semel, our lab’s lemur expert, just received news that she has been awarded the Rufford Small Grant!!! Meredith will spend the next four months in northern Madagascar studying the endangered crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus).

Meredith’s current whereabouts are unknown, but here a picture from her basecamp in Madagascar.

When Tree Swallows Attack!

After a busy summer monitoring over 130 nest boxes, Jess and her crew are wrapping up their first field season with over 500 birds caught and processed! Other than being attacked by a giant tree swallow, everything has gone well!

(Left to right): Sydney Hope (Phd Student), Jenna Holub (field technician), Jessica Hernandez (PhD Student), Catherine Hucul (field technician)

Jess awarded GRFP!

Congratulations to Jess for being awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Jess is currently preparing to start her first field season working with a local breeding population of Tree Swallows at Virginia Tech’s own Kentland Farm.

Tiputini Biodiversity Station Video

Getting to our remote field site in North-Eastern Ecuador requires a plane trip to a small oil-frontier city, a boat down up the Napo River, a truck ride down a oil road, and another final boat ride down the Tiputini River. In total it takes about 10 hours to get to the station from the Quito Airport. Here is a time lapse video showing the final leg of the trip.

2016 North American Ornithological Conference and 2016 Manakin Research Coordination Network

Ignacio and Ben just returned from the North American Ornithological Conference. Ben presented a poster on his recent work on wire-tailed manakins while Ignacio gave a poster presentation describing his work on the cloacal micro-biome of Rufous-collared sparrows. Prior to the meeting, Ben and Ignacio also attended the second Manakin Research Coordination Network meeting along with ~40 other researchers studying manakins and/or genomics.

2016 Manakin Research Coordination Network Participants

2016 Manakin Research Coordination Network Participants