Feather Flora of Migratory Shore Birds

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Revision as of 19:02, 18 December 2013 by Lily Lewis (Talk | contribs) (Our Process)

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Many bryophytes display infraspecific bipolar geographic disjunctions. In extreme northern and southern high latitude regions, where these bryophytes are abundant, there is a lack of wind connectivity. While migratory birds have long been assumed as the potential vector to explain the bipolar distribution, our project aims to provide the first concrete evidence for long distance dispersal by migratory birds.

Research Team

Lily Lewis

Lily Lewis (Ph.D. candidate and project supervisor)

Emily Behling

Emily Behling (undergraduate)

A current junior at UConn studying biology.

Hannah Gousse

Hannah Gousse (undergraduate)

A current junior at UConn studying ecology and evolutionary biology.

Emily Qian

Emily Qian (undergraduate)

A current senior at UConn studying psychology and molecular and cell biology.

Have you ever wondered what birds take with them as they travel across the globe?

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Our Process

Our research team, led by Lily Lewis, is in the process of scanning feather samples from migratory birds that were collected in Canada by François Lamarre and Joël Bêty. One by one, each feather is washed and the contents of its wash are viewed under a microscope in a controlled setting. It is our hypothesis that if moss diapores are found on feathers, it is possible that birds may serve as vectors for long distance dispersal. With hundreds of feathers to process, our team hopes to provide evidence that migratory birds play a role in the long distance spore dispersal of bryophytes, especially when wind is not a possible vector.