Ongman, Kurt

Kurt Ongman, M.S. – EES Kurt holding a bird
Advisor:  Amber Roth – Amber Roth – Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology and School of Forest Resources

Start Date:  Fall 2021
B.S. 2014, Wildlife Management and Conservation, Cal Poly Humboldt Arcata, CA; 207.581.2921

Brief Biography: Human-caused extinction has troubled me for as long as I can remember. In my lifetime, at least three U.S. bird species have gone extinct: Kauaʻi Oʻo, Kauaʻi Nukupuʻu, and Poʻouli. Having spent nearly a decade working with at-risk bird species across the western US (most recently working with the deeply imperiled native forest birds of Kauaʻi), I returned to academia to hone my skills as a bird conservationist in hopes of reducing human-caused extinction in the face of rapid environmental change.

Current Research: Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) has declined by 61% since 1966, due in part to hybridization with their sympatric congener, the Blue-winged Warbler (V. cyanoptera). For my MS research, I am studying early life survival and habitat selection within the Vermivora complex on Fort Drum Army Base in New York. Findings from this research may inform management decisions to help reduce hybridization between Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers and preserve the genetic diversity of this rapidly declining genus of migratory songbirds.