Predicting and mapping avian distributions: recent advances and future challenges

Organizer: Robert Fletcher, University of Florida
Tuesday 26 July, 10:00-15:00, Grand 6

Understanding species distributions across space and time is essential to ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. Models of species distributions (SDMs) are increasingly being used to address a wide variety of questions in biology and problems in conservation, and advances in these modeling efforts have exploded in recent years. We will provide an overview on the questions and problems these models can and cannot address, discuss the kinds of data that are frequently used in avian ecology and evolution to build these models (including museum collections, breeding bird survey data, and more intensive monitoring data), highlight some of the major advances in modeling, and some future challenges. We will work through a few examples relevant to ecological and evolutionary problems that leverage different kinds of avian data and models (e.g., ‘presence-only’ models, occupancy models), emphasizing their assumptions, model evaluation and interpretation, and uncertainty assessment. This workshop will provide perspectives from both faculty and graduate students regarding the implementation of these models. Rob Fletcher, Susan Cameron-Devitt, Rajeev Pillay, and Brian Reichert will instruct the workshop.

Please contact Rob Fletcher (robert.fletcher if you plan on attending the workshop. We will send participants specific information on the workshop the week before the meeting, including a detailed outline, data that will be used, and some instructions regarding the implementation of models we will present.

Teaching with Cutting-Edge Bird Data

Organizer: Colleen McLinn, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Tuesday 26 July, 13:00 – 16:00, Grand 3

Real-time data about birds and their habitats submitted by citizen scientists are creating unprecedented opportunities for research at broad spatial and temporal scales. Another rich source of data for asking and answering questions about birds are the numerous sound and video specimens available in online archives. Harnessing these resources for hands-on undergraduate inquiry can revolutionize the teaching of both majors and non-majors. This Tuesday afternoon workshop will begin with lessons learned by instructors who have tried data-rich approaches in diverse settings. In the latter half of the workshop, participants will brainstorm topics they might want to investigate with their own students, explore online databases and visualization tools, and provide feedback on new web-based teaching resources. Presenters include Colleen McLinn and Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Russell Benford of Northern Arizona University, Mia Revels of Northeastern State University (Oklahoma), and Erica Van Etten of the National Audubon Society. Anyone with an interest in teaching is welcome to attend this free workshop! No prior registration is required, but we request you bring a laptop if you have one.

From Chernobyl to Fukushima and beyond: what twenty-five years of studying the fate and effects of radioactive contamination in birds can tell us about the potential for the recent Japanese nuclear disaster to affect global avian populations

Organizer: Lehr Brisbin, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
Tuesday 26 July, 15:00 – 17:00, Grand 7

In August of 1986, at its 104th Stated Meeting, the AOU organized a discussion of the potential for the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which had occurred in April of that year, to affect global populations of birds. Now, 25-years later, much has been learned and published concerning the fate and effects of various radioactive contaminants in birds--a field now known as “avian radioecology”. This workshop will review the basic principles of avian radioecology alone with their potential to now be applied to the situation in Japan involving the Fukishima nuclear reactor incidents that occurred this year.

Funding Opportunities at NSF: what you should know

Organizer: Bette Loiselle, National Science Foundation
Tuesday 26 July 15:30 – 17:00, Grand 6

The workshop will be designed to reach out to scientists of all ages and provide up-to-date information about funding opportunities available at the National Science Foundation.  This is not an attempt to list all opportunities, but rather provide some examples and tips on where to go for information and how one, especially students and new faculty, can take advantage of NSF programs through a better understanding of the proposal review process, procedures, and programs. In addition, NSF staff will highlight new opportunities or guidelines relevant to the community.  The format will be a short presentation followed by questions and open discussion.