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Keynote Speaker Frank R. Moore, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Southern Mississippi University, will share some of his knowledge of bird migration at the Fall AOS Meeting October 13-15, 2017. Dr. Moore worked on the Fort Morgan Peninsula for many years studying the behavior and ecology of migratory birds. The weekend will include a field trip with Dr. Moore to Fort Morgan on Friday, October 13.
Here is Dr. Frank Moore’s description of his research interests:
“My graduate students and I study the behavior and ecology of migration. Migration is a fundamental characteristic of the life history of many organisms and is surely one of the most fascinating of all behavior. Nearly two-thirds of all North American landbirds undertake migrations between temperate breeding areas and tropical wintering quarters. Although many landbird migrants are capable of making spectacular, non-stop flights over ecological barriers, few actually engage in nonstop flights between points of origin and destination, rather they stopover periodically between migratory flights. Indeed, the cumulative amount of time spent at stopover sites far exceeds time spent in flight and determines the total duration of migration. When a migratory bird stops en route, she almost invariably finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings at a time when energy demands are high, often faced with the need to acquire food in a short period of time, while balancing often conflicting demands between predator avoidance and food acquisition, competition with other migrants and resident birds for limited resources, unfavorable weather, exposure to parasites and pathogens, not to mention the need to make accurate orientation decisions upon departure. How well she meets these challenges will determine the success of her migration, while a successful migration is measured in terms of survival and reproductive performance. Long term, programmatic research in my lab has been organized around the challenges migrants face when they stop over during migration, how migrants meet those challenges, and the consequences of their response to en route challenges.
Our research has recently taken on a sense of urgency because populations of many migratory songbirds are on the decline. These declines are linked to deforestation on wintering grounds in Central and South America and fragmentation of forested breeding habitats. Our work is calling attention to a third factor — the availability of suitable habitat during migration, where energy stores critical to a successful migration can be safely deposited. The biology of migrants during migration must figure in any analysis of population change and in the formulation of sound conservation policy.”