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October 2013

October 24th presentation by Dr. Merritt

Bat drawing from Illinois AudubonJoin us Thursday, October 24th at 7:00 pm for the presentation, “Bats – Myth and Reality,” presented by Dr. Joseph Merritt at the Danville Public Library. ┬áThe event is free and open to the public. Snacks will be provided.

About Dr. Merritt

Joseph Merritt, MammologistJoseph F. Merritt is senior mammalogist with the Illinois Natural History Survey. He is the former Director of Powdermill Biological Station of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO during academic year 2004 to 2005. Dr. Merritt is a physiological ecologist and functional morphologist specializing in adaptations of mammals to cold. He is the author of The Biology of Small Mammals published by Johns Hopkins University Press and Mammalogy:Adaptation,Diversity,Ecology also published by Johns Hopkins. Dr. Merritt is editor of many technical monographs on specific taxa of mammals. He has served on the Publications Committee of the American Society of Mammalogists since 1990 and is currently the Journal Editor for the Journal of Mammalogy published by the American Society of Mammalogists. Dr. Merritt instructs mammalogy at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station and courses in mammalian biology and winter ecology at Illinois State University, and at the Adirondack Ecological Center, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

September 2013

jasonfischerwebJason Fischer is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois in the Program for Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology. He is wrapping up his research which has included 4 years of mist netting and banding birds at feeders in Champaign, Vermillion, and Piatt counties, which has included work at the Homer Lake Visitor Center and at the homes of Jim Smith and Sue and Tom Smith. Jason will be the guest speaker at the September 26th meeting of the MiddleFork Audubon meeting at the Danville Public library at 7PM.

People change their environments in drastic ways to meet their own needs and desires, but many species of wildlife are able to thrive in these modified habitats. I am interested in how urbanization affects population dynamics and behavior of birds in particular. I work along a gradient of urbanization from rural farms to residential neighborhoods in east-central Illinois using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to quantify foraging behavior and survival. To do this work, I capture birds at my study sites and attach RFID tags to bands that I put on their legs. At each of my study sites, I have a specially designed bird feeder to record when marked birds visit the feeder. With this information, I hope to gain a better understanding of how urbanization is affecting feeder birds.