UConn Ornithology Group: People
The UConn Ornithology Research Group consists of members of the lab groups associated with Chris Elphick and State Ornithologist Margaret Rubega. Members of the overall group work on a diverse range of topics related to the ecology, evolution, and conservation of birds, but we also interact closely with each other by holding joint lab meetings, and generally trying to meddle in each others' research as much as possible. The composition of the group is in constant flux, but we'll try to keep this list more-or-less up to date.
MEMBERS OF THE RUBEGA LAB
Holly Brown is an EEB PhD student with an interest in wading birds in urban settings.
Kevin Burgio is an EEB PhD student with an interest in the ecology of monk parakeets.
Alejandro Rico Guevara is an EEB PhD student with an interest in functional morphology.
Margaret Rubega is a faculty member in the EEB department.
Diego Sustaita is an EEB PhD student with an interest in the functional morphology of prey capture in raptors and shrikes.
MEMBERS OF THE ELPHICK LAB
Alyssa Borowske is an EEB PhD student studying seasonal effects on habitat selection decisions.
Chris Elphick is a faculty member in the EEB department.
Chris Field is an EEB PhD student studying demography in tidal marsh birds and coastal conservation planning. Previously he was in the EEB BS/MS program and was the Important Bird Area coordinator for Audubon Connecticut.
Girma Mengesha is a visiting PhD student from Addis Ababa University. He is studying waterbird populations in Ethiopia.
Mike Kot is an undergraduate student studying area-sensitivity in seaside sparrows for his Honor’s thesis.
Vicky Heyse is an undergraduate student working with our saltmarsh sparrow nesting data.
Alex Minalga is an undergraduate student working on plumage variation in saltmarsh sparrows.
PAST LAB MEMBERS
Graduate students and Post-docs
Trina Bayard is a former EEB PhD student who studied breeding site selection behavior in saltmarsh sparrows. Her dissertation can be read here. She is currently the Director for Conservation at Audubon Washington.
Dan Britton is a former student in the EEB BS/MS program and the first to survive having Chris as his advisor. He is currently working in the solar power industry.
Patrick Bukowski is a former EEB BS/MS student who has helped with invertebrate identification for our saltmarsh bird studies and done research on waterbird use of agricultural fields.
Carina Gjerdrum ran our saltmarsh sparrow research for the first 3 years of the project. Prior to that she earned her MSc at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where she did some very cool research on tufted puffins. She now works as a seabird biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service in Nova Scotia.
Erin King is a former EEB BS/MS Master’s student who worked on our saltmarsh sparrow studies for several years. She is currently a biologist for the USFWS in Rhode Island.
Nancy LaFleur is a former EEB PhD student, who studied the interactions between European starlings and invasive plants. She is currently a lecturer in ecology.
Sue Meiman is a former EEB Master's student, who worked on the factors influencing habitat occupancy in saltmarsh sparrows. Her thesis can be read here. She is currently the Project Leader for the Institute for Wildlife Studies’ San Clemente Sage Sparrow project.
Kara Rogers is a former student in the EEB BS/MS program, with Margaret as her advisor.
Tanner Steeves is a former student in the EEB BS/MS program, with Margaret as his advisor. While in our group he worked on chimney swifts, saltmarsh birds and invasive species. He currently works for Yale University.
Oriane Taft is a former postdoctoral researcher who worked on a major review of waterbird occurrence in agricultural habitats. She is currently based in Oregon where she works in ecological consulting.
Kelly Tardiff is a former student in the EEB BS/MS program, with Margaret as her advisor.
Gregor Yanega is a former EEB PhD student who studied the functional morphology of insectivory in hummingbirds. He is currently a lecturer in ecology.
Meghan Connolly is a former undergraduate Honors student who looked into the way scientific information on climate change is portrayed in the media.
Martha Ellis is a former EEB major who conducted independent research on mute swan population dynamics and behavior in our group. She is currently an NSF-supported PhD student at the University of Montana.
Selena Humphries is a former EEB major who conducted independent research on saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow nest building behavior in our group. She now works in environmental education.
Shannon Murray is a former EEB undergraduate working on avian functional morphology in ruddy turnstones. She is now a naturalist working at a nature center in Wilton.
Erika Norton is an undergraduate student studying cactus wren vocalizations for her Honor’s thesis. She is now an MS student at William & Mary.
Michelle Przybylek is a former EEB undergraduate working on the conservation value of Christmas tree plantations.
Kira Sullivan-Wiley is a former EEB major who conducted independent research working on the functional morphology of prey capture in bee-eaters and on saltmarsh sparrow reproductive biology. She is now a PhD student at Boston University.
Zachary Zweisler is a former undergraduate Honors student who modeled saltmarsh sparrow population viability.
Patrick Comins is Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Connecticut. He is responsible for prompting our group’s initial interest in saltmarsh sparrows.
Chris Hill is a professor at Coastal Carolina University who has been helping us to study paternity patterns in saltmarsh sparrows.
Min Huang is a wildlife biologist at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and is a collaborator on several projects throughout the state of Connecticut.
Michael Reed is a professor at Tufts University. A long-term friend since our Reno days, Michael and Chris collaborate various topics and frequently get lost when driving places because they’re talking rather than paying attention to where they’re going.
Dave Roberts is an orchidologist (I just made that term up) at the University of Kent who we’ve been working with on several projects involving extinction.