Kathryn E. Sieving
B.Sc. Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology, UC Davis
Ph.D. Ecology, Ethology, & Evolution, UIUC
My research program focuses on conserving forest biodiversity, especially birds, in disturbed, fragmented, urbanized, and otherwise human-dominated landscapes in historically forested biomes. Conceptually, my lab’s work is rooted in community, behavioral, and landscape ecology. Functionally, the over-riding theme in my lab that applies to all of my students and myself is ‘effective conservation science via rigorous research design’. My graduate, undergraduate, and post-doctoral scholars’ interests take them in a variety of directions (see below) as the philosophy of mentoring in my lab is that ‘it’s your degree and your future - so take the reins’! The one common theme is that my students must learn and deploy rigorous and appropriate research designs for the question at issue.
Currently, I am working on a major project that holistically addresses the causes and consequences of the extraordinary vocal complexity of chickadees and titmice. With Todd Freeberg (UT-Knoxville) and Jeff Lucas (Purdue) we are testing three major hypotheses for the causes (social, habitat, and predation risk complexity) of variation in vocal complexity. My focus is also on understanding what effects this parid vocal production, packed with useful social information for other small birds, has on population, community interactions, and behavior of eavesdropping animals. Conservation-related questions are of high priority, namely determining how normal information exchanges are disrupted and what the consequences are. This project involves experimental (field and aviary), comparative and descriptive approaches. Students with interests in soundscapes, small bird behavioral ecology, acoustic ecology and conservation of birds are encouraged to apply to my lab.
· Highway noise blocks bird talk! Aaron Grade’s MSc thesis is out in Biology Letters [link]
· Aaron’s paper was written up in the popular media [link]
o Even our beloved UF newspaper the Alligator picked it up! See third article .. http://www.alligator.org/news/article_fafd31fc-2166-11e6-aeed-a728b8c9bc00.html
· Work on parid vocal ecology (parid infoscapes)
o Mentioned in New York (Science) Times
o Article is focus of Science Times Rhymes rap video!
o Why does Pishing work to attract birds? Wikipedia explains using our article!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pish
Recent Public and Professional Presentations
o Animal Behavior Society (MO, USA) - July 2016
§ By Katie and Kristen Malone (on work by former lab members Fangyuan Hua and Amanda Powell)
o NAOC (Washington DC, USA) - July 2016
§ By Harrison Jones on his MSc thesis
o Ecosummit (Montpellier, France) - August 2016
§ By Katie on parid work as part of a symposium I co-organized with Harry Jones and Eben Goodale on Mixed Species Animal groupings and what makes them swim, brachiate, swing, jump, or fly together.
§ By Harry on a review of how flocks fall apart in degraded habitats.