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Current Graduate Students - Erynn Call

Erynn Call, Ph.D. candidateErynn Call
Advisor: Malcolm Hunter, Department of Wildlife Ecology
Summer 2009 – Fall 2013
M.S. 2002, Wildlife Ecology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
B.S. 1998, Wildlife Ecology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Current Research: Most research within river systems identifies fish as the top predators and focuses at this or lower levels in the food web. However, many bird species also rely on rivers and can be linked to the food web as carnivores, omnivores, insectivores, and, piscivores. This study examines community dynamics of river bird assemblages (RBA) and their interactions with dams and habitat variation. The ultimate goal is to quantify how bird assemblages respond to various habitat conditions that are likely to be impacted by dam removal and the subsequent restoration of spawning diadromous fishes. It is reasonable to assume that dam removal will alter some of these river variables and thus affect bird assemblages in both the short and long-term. Specifically the objectives of this study are to:

  1. Develop a monitoring framework to assess the long-term responses of RBA to dam removal.
  2. Characterize RBA prior and immediately after dam removal.
  3. Examine pre-dam removal Osprey distribution, abundance, and productivity as a baseline for measuring response to fish restoration.
  4. Investigate the relationship between habitat, food resources, and RBA.
  5. Evaluate the relative importance of marine and freshwater prey to Bald Eagle, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, and Tree Swallow.

Previous Research: As an undergraduate at Michigan State University I participated in research pertaining to Ruffed Grouse survival, nest success, and habitat use. After graduating, I migrated to the Kansas Flint Hills and worked on another project which involved the aforementioned metrics but also investigated hen turkey spring dispersal patterns. My Master’s work at the University of Missouri examined multi-spatial relationships between habitat, community land management practices, and Bobwhite Quail ecology. After graduating, I worked as an avian ecologist in multiple positions at both the state and federal level assisted with the Everglades restoration. I developed, designed, and implemented complex environmental monitoring projects using avian species as indicators of ecosystem function. The central questions pertained to how wading bird foraging and reproduction success was linked to hydrologic and prey dynamics. Because of my affinity for the North, I returned to Michigan and worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a wildlife biologist where I analyzed and summarized data at multiple spatial and temporal scales, conducted health surveys, population surveys, and utilized population models to generate habitat management plans and harvest recommendations for wildlife species.


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