Additional Participants


Frederic Angelier

Graduate Student

Christopher Tonra

Undergraduate Student

Kayla Porcelli
Marie Smith
Doug Perez
Kayla Pelletier
Nissa Marione

Technician, Programmer

Wesley Wright
Mark Thomas
Robert Reitsma

Other Participant

Peter Marra

Organizational Partners

National Environmental Protection Agency

Other Collaborators or Contacts

Keith Hobson, Environment Canada-Canadian Wildlife Service
Linda Welch, S. Williams: US Fish & Wildlife Service Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Mark McCollough, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Brad Allen, Tom Hodgman: Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Bruce Connery: National Park Service
Phil Taylor: Acadia University, Nova Scotia
Antony W. Diamond, University of New Brunswick
Wing Goodale, Biodiversity Research Institute

Project Period

April 1, 2007-March 31, 2001

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



Migratory birds breed throughout the temperate regions of North America but winter in very different habitats further south. Although 1000 km or more may separate wintering from breeding areas, recent research has revealed that ecological conditions during winter can influence subsequent reproductive success. The major objective of this research is to investigate the underlying physiological factors linking winter events with an individual's ability to breed. The American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is an excellent study animal: its ecology and behavior during the wintering and breeding periods have been intensively studied. The degree to which redstarts prepare for breeding, and the factors that influence this, while still on their winter territories will be investigated by analyzing the links between natural and experimentally induced variation in winter habitat quality (food availability), the birds' energetic condition (body mass, fat stores, plasma indicators of energy storage and use), and their breeding status (reproductive hormones) before they leave the wintering grounds. Similar measures of energetic and reproductive condition will also be taken in redstarts as they arrive at the breeding grounds. Stable-carbon isotopes, as markers of winter habitat origin, will be used to link winter and summer events. This research provides greater understanding of how different periods of an individual's life cycle interact to influence reproductive success, will contribute significantly to our understanding of how migrant bird populations are regulated, and will ultimately help resource managers direct conservation efforts more efficiently. The broader impacts of this research include the opportunity to greatly enhance the breadth of professional training of many students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, through its integration of physiology, behavior, and ecology and a variety of lab and field methods, and will strengthen ties with conservation groups in Jamaica.

Included in

Ornithology Commons