Research

Current Projects:

My work uses a model avian aerial insectivore, the Tree Swallow (Tachycienta bicolor), to investigate differences in prey availability and consumption by birds nesting in artificial and natural wetlands. I study shifts in insect phenology and reproductive timing of Tree Swallows to evaluate the effects of climate change. I am also interested in quantifying whether differences in prey availability are reflected in Tree Swallow foraging behavior and parental care.

I collaborate with Dr. Leslie Clifford at Mansfield University, the State Park System and the US Army Corps of Engineers at Blue Marsh Lake. We investigate patterns in Tree Swallow nest feather use across sites that differ with respect to habitat type (wetland vs riparian). Early results show that feather number and size are statistically consistent across sites. Additionally, preliminary research showed that feather use is not linked to reproductive success. Experiments in summer 2022 (continuing in Fall 2022) evaluate the thermoregulatory properties of Tree Swallow nests.

In the future, we will include other species that use feathers in their nests such as Carolina Wrens (Thyrothorus ludovicianus).

Undergraduate Gabby Leonard presented a poster at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Scholar’s Forum in 2021
Tree Swallows on or around hatch day
Tree Swallow chicks ~5 days old

Previous Research:

Prior to arriving in Pennsylvania, my work focused on quantifying the effects of eutrophication in coastal ecosystems. My doctoral research evaluated thresholds of macroalgal abundances on benthic community structure and the effects of macroalgal blooms on shorebird foraging behavior. As a postdoc with Peggy Fong of UCLA and Martha Sutula of SCCWRP, we expanded my macroalgal threshold research and proposed Nutrient Numeric Endpoints for macroalgae.  

My postdoctoral work in the Florida Keys evaluated nutrient enrichment in the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge and the role that tides have on habitat availability for wading birds. I worked with an incredible team that included Dale Gawlik, Leo Calle and Laura Herren.

After Florida, I was fortunate to become an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow (ORISE) with the Environmental Protection Agency. Mentored by Cheryl Brown and Ted DeWitt, I evaluated the mechanisms behind nonpoint source management and the successful reduction of eutrophication in coastal estuaries.

Lauri Green poses in front of her macroalgal cages in Ventura, CA
The mud in San Diego is very sticky!
Quantifying seagrass community structure in the Keys
Snow shoes helped us walk on seagrass without sinking

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