Out and About: News from the Winger Lab
We keep a busy schedule of research, teaching, outreach, fieldwork and seminars. We post many of the highlights here, and you can also follow us on Twitter.
December 2018: Brian Weeks accepts faculty position in UM's School for Environment and Sustainability!
A huge congratulations to Winger Lab postdoc Brian Weeks for a major — and richly deserved — career milestone: Brian has accepted an offer for a tenure-track faculty position in UM's School for Environment and Sustainability, starting in September 2019. We're thrilled for Brian's success and that he will be close by to continue as part of the UMMZ Bird Division's growing research community. Read more about Brian's work here: http://bcweeks.weebly.com/
December 2018: seed funding granted for new research on migratory birds and the magnetosphere
A new research direction in our lab is studying the evolution of magnetoreception in birds and the influence of the magnetosphere on bird migration. We are pleased to have received $60K in seed funding from University of Michigan's MCubed program, for a collaboration between our lab and scientists from UM's Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department.
November 2018: new lab publication on the evolution seasonal migration
A new synthesis paper from our lab group explores the evolution of seasonal migration and its impact on evolutionary processes such as geographic range evolution. We hope it will be useful for researchers working on and thinking about bird migration from a variety of ecological and evolutionary angles (Read the paper here)
November 2018: new publications from Eric and Teresa
Winger Lab graduate students Teresa Pegan and Eric Gulson-Castillo each had first-authored papers published this fall, in PloS One and Wilson Journal of Ornithology, respectively, on research they did as undergraduates prior to coming to UM. It's always great to see undergrad research published -- kudos to Teresa and Eric for seeing these papers through!
Read paper HERE
Read paper HERE
September 2018: Ben and Teresa teach Ornithology in UM's new Biological Sciences Building
Ben taught Ornithology (EEB433) this fall, along with Teresa Pegan as the Graduate Student Instructor. This was the inaugural class in the specimen-based teaching classroom in the new Biological Sciences Building on UM's central campus (read more about the building in this newsletter, where Ornithology is featured on page 4). The class makes intensive use of UMMZ specimens to teach global avian diversity (nearly 170 bird families are covered in the class!). We also had great field trips, including a visit to Black Swamp Bird Observatory's banding station, and the Detroit River hawk watch.
June 2018: UMMZ & Winger Lab continue boreal fieldwork
PhD student Susanna Campbell and postdoc Brian Weeks headed north this year to the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan to continue our ongoing field research on the population genetics of boreal birds. They were joined by our collaborators from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Field Museum. The collaborative expedition had multiple foci, including specimen and sample collection for research on chickadee genomics, range shifts and morphological adaptation to climate change in migratory birds, and thrush microbiota.
May 2018: Teresa studies nocturnal migration in Borneo
With support from a National Geographic Young Explorer's Grant, PhD student Teresa Pegan traveled to Borneo this spring to study nocturnal bird migration over the Crocker range near Mt. Kinabalu. The extent of nocturnal migration in the tropics is more poorly understudied than in the temperate zone, and Teresa's research promises to shed light on some interesting patterns. Teresa was joined by UMMZ Collections Assistant Mary Margaret Ferraro.
May 2018: Ben teaches Biology of Birds at the University of Michigan Biological Station
One of the longest-running field ornithology classes in the country is the Biology of Birds course (EEB 330) at the University of Michigan Biological Station in the northern Lower Peninsula. This class has been taught consistently since the inception of the station in 1909, and was made famous by the legendary Olin Sewall Petingill, who taught the class for many years while writing the widely used textbook Ornithology in Lab and Field. Ben had a blast teaching two weeks of the month-long course this year, along with Dave Ewert of the Nature Conservancy. The class explored all kinds of habitats near the Biostation and enjoyed a two-night camping trip at Whitefish Point and Tahquamenon Falls. A major highlight was a flock of Whimbrel that motored by Whitefish Point late one evening on their way to Hudson Bay.
April 2018: Teresa awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Winger Lab PhD student Teresa Pegan was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Her proposal focuses on the evolutionary consequences of dispersal differences in migratory birds. Congrats Teresa!
April 2018: Winger Lab goes to AOS Tucson
The Winger lab descended on Tucson, AZ for the annual meeting of the American Ornithological Society. Ben presented work from a project with postdoc Brian Weeks on a large specimen series of migratory birds from Chicago that has revealed nearly universal morphological responses to climatic change across a diverse array of species. Brian presented work from his dissertation looking at the relationship between diversity and vulnerability of birds across the Solomon Islands. And PhD student Susanna Campbell networked with a range of researchers looking at chickadee hybridization to firm up her plans for her dissertation research and to connect with some of the other labs working on chickadees.
February 2018: Ben is quoted in a National Geographic article on bird migration
August 2017: UMMZ ornithologists conduct first museum expedition to Krygyzstan in 50 years
In August, UMMZ ornithologists Michael Harvey (postdoc, Rabosky Lab), Rachael Herman (research assistant, Winger Lab) and Brian Weeks (postdoc, Winger Lab) conducted an ornithological expedition to Kyrgyzstan, the first to that country in over 50 years. Read more about their adventure here.
August 2017: Speciation Symposium
Along with Jay McEntee of the University of Florida, Ben hosted a symposium titled "Trait divergence and speciation: Tempo, mode and mechanism" at the American Ornithological Society meeting in East Lansing, MI. The outstanding speaker lineup included Haley Kenyon, Sara Lipshutz, Nick Mason, Jason Weir, Jay and Ben.
July 2017: Andean bird speciation research published
The culmination of Ben's PhD dissertation was published in the July issue of Evolution. Accompanying the article were this Evolution Digest feature and a UMich EEB research feature.
June 2017: Fieldwork in Minnesota
Ben and collaborators Andy Jones and Courtney Brennan from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Heather Skeen from the Field Museum in Chicago traveled to northern Minnesota for their research on the population genetics of migratory boreal birds. The fieldwork resulted in some of the first genetic sampling from this part of the breeding range for several species, and will help further our understanding of both the evolutionary history and conservation needs of boreal birds.
April 2017: Migration research featured in Living Bird
Ben's 2014 paper on the evolution of bird migration was featured in the spring issue of Living Bird magazine. The article included these fantastic gifs by Virginia Greene, illustrating the difference between the "northern" and "southern" home theories for the evolution of bird migration, which were central to the research. Ben's paper showed that bird migration evolved out of the northern hemisphere more frequently than had been previously supposed. This research was previously featured in other media including National Geographic.
April 2017: Seminar at Kellogg Biological Station
Ben had a great time visiting Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station to give a seminar. He was thrilled to see the seminar advertised with this amazing chalk illustration of the Yellow-scarfed Tanager!
All images, unless otherwise indicated, © Benjamin M. Winger, All Rights Reserved