Trina Bayard

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Trina saltmarsh.jpg

Ph.D. Candidate
University of Connecticut
Department of Ecology and Evolution

Office: BioPharm 310

Voice: (860) 486-3005
Fax: (860) 486-6364

Mailing address:

75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3043
Storrs, CT 06269-3043, U.S.A.

Research Interests

The saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow Ammodramus caudacutus is a species of national and global conservation concern that is currently receiving conservation attention due to its limited breeding range and vulnerability to sea level rise. Up to half of the global breeding population is estimated to breed in the coastal marshes of southern New England. Despite detailed studies of nesting habitat, our ability to predict this species’ responses to habitat remains deficient. Some evidence suggests that these sparrows may combine social information with their assessment of the physical environment in order to select nesting habitat, yet the way in which birds integrate these types of information has not been studied.

To resolve this uncertainty I am currently investigating how social interactions and cues obtained from conspecifics influence breeding habitat selection in the saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow. My research employs a systematic approach to identify and test the influence of social cues on avian habitat selection behavior, allowing me to distinguish between the confounding effects of the physical environment and social factors. Through experimental manipulations of social cues I am hoping to develop innovative techniques that can be used to facilitate conservation of this and other species of conservation concern. The results of this work will broaden our conceptual understanding of habitat selection behavior and avian distribution patterns, as well as help to advance conservation and restoration science. It will also provide new information on the mechanisms that influence saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow population persistence in the core of the breeding range.


Ph.D., Ecology, anticipated 2010
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Primary Advisor: Dr. Chris S. Elphick

B.A., Biology, 1996–2000
Lewis & Clark College, OR

Overseas Study, Fall 1998
Lewis & Clark Overseas Program, Kenya and Tanzania
East African Culture, Politics, Kiswahili, Wildlife Conservation

Teaching and Research Experience

  • Fall 2009: Teaching Assistant, BIOL 1102: Foundations of Biology Laboratory
  • Spring 2009: Teaching Assistant, EEB 2208: Introduction to Conservation Biology
  • Fall 2008: Teaching Assistant, BIOL 1102: Foundations of Biology Laboratory
  • 2005-2008: Research Assistant, Elphick lab, University of Connecticut



  • American Ornithologists' Union/Cooper Ornithological Society/Society of Canadian Ornithologists Travel Award


  • Wilson Ornithological Society Paul A. Steward Award
  • American Museum of Natural History Frank M. Chapman Award
  • Quebec-Labrador Foundation Sounds Conservancy Grant
  • University of Connecticut Center for Conservation and Biodiversity Award
  • Manter Fund/CT State Museum of Natural History, University of Connecticut


  • Garden Club of America Francis M. Peacock Scholarship
  • Cooper Ornithological Society Mewaldt-King Student Research Award
  • Animal Behavior Society Student Research Award


  • Manter Fund, University of Connecticut
  • George Clark Jr. Endowment, University of Connecticut


(*indicates presenting author)


Bayard, T.S., and C.S. Elphick. In Review. Quantifying patterns of saltmarsh sparrow nest flooding under current sea level conditions. Biological Conservation.

Bayard, T.S., and C.S. Elphick. In Review. Using spatial point pattern assessment to understand the social and environmental mechanisms driving avian habitat selection. The Auk.

Bayard, T.S. and C.S. Elphick. In Press. How area sensitivity in birds is studied. Conservation Biology.


Bayard, T*. and C. Elphick. 2010. Quantifying the frequency, duration and effects of Saltmarsh Sparrow nest flooding events under current climatic conditions. American Ornithologists’ Union 128th meeting. San Diego, CA.

Bayard, T.* and C. Elphick. 2009. Using patterns in nest placement to understand saltmarsh sparrow habitat selection behavior. American Ornithologists' Union 127th Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA.

Bayard, T*. 2009. Testing the role of social cues in saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) habitat selection behavior. Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources 3rd Annual Meeting. Poster presentation. Storrs, CT.

Bayard, T.* and C. Elphick. 2007. Pausing to reflect: an examination of how we study avian area sensitivity. Wilson Ornithological Society 87th Annual Meeting. Boston, MA.

Schneider, T*. 2006. How do animals select and use their habitats? 16th Annual Graduate Student Symposium, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT.