Congratulations Amelia!

Congrats to Burns lab MS student Amelia Demery who was recently awarded a Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Scholarship. These scholarships are awarded by the California State University Chancellor’s office to help students prepare to succeed in a future doctoral programs. Amelia is one of only about 70 scholars statewide this year. Way to go Amelia! More info about her award can be found at the SDSU NewsCenter.

AmeliaDemeryKevinBurns

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Welcome Rosalyn!

The Burns lab welcomes new MS student Rosalyn Price-Waldman. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology (with honors) from Brown University. At Brown, Rosalyn’s undergraduate thesis focused on phylogenetics and comparative wing morphology in bats. For her MS thesis, Rosalyn will be focusing on tanager phylogenetics and comparative biology. Welcome Rosalyn!

Rosalyn Price-Waldman

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Recent Burns Lab Good News

There has been lots of good news for the Burns lab over the past several months. Amelia Demery received funding from the AOU and the American Museum of Natural History to support her project on tanager morphological diversification. She spent the summer measuring tanagers at six different museums. Amelia also learned recently that she has received a Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral scholarship. Brian Myers had another successful field season and received grants from Pasadena Audubon and the AOU to continue to support his hummingbird research. Both Brian Myers and Erik Funk received travel awards to present their research at the recent AOU meetings in DC. Former Burns lab undergrad Zach Martinez was selected as one of only 9 Fulbright awardees from SDSU. In addition, another former Burns lab undergrad Allan Cabrero recently started his PhD at UC Berkeley. Congrats everyone!

Burns lab

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Burns Lab at NAOC in DC

The Burns lab recently traveled to D.C. to attend the North American Ornithological Conference, which was the largest gathering of professional ornithologists in history. Eight past and present Burns lab members were in attendance. Erik received an AOU travel award to present his talk on conservation indices of tanagers. Brian also received a travel award to present his hummingbird hybrid zone results. We were joined by Amelia who was winding up her data collection of tanager morphology at the Smithsonian. We were also able to reconnect with former Burns lab students Shannon (Walsh) Mindeman, Nick Mason, Allison Shultz, and Bill Mauck. In total, nine presentations were authored by Burns lab members past and present. Attending the meeting was a great way to cap off a busy summer for the Burns lab!

BurnsLabNAOC

Burns lab past and present at NAOC VI, from left to right: Allison Shultz, Brian Myers, Amelia Demery, Kevin Burns, Bill Mauck, Shannon Mindeman, and Nick Mason

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2016 NAOC in DC

Burns lab members past and present will be well represented at the upcoming North American Ornithological Conference in Washington, DC. Here is a list of presentations by both former and current Burns lab members (in bold):

Wednesday, 1:45 pm, Room 8 Georgetown West
Using phylogenetic distinctiveness to prioritize species conservation in the largest family of songbirds (Thraupidae) Funk, Erik – San Diego State University; Kevin Burns – San Diego State University

Thursday, 5:30-7:00 pm, Poster Session D, Poster 94
Applications of behavioral and morphological data across a hummingbird hybrid zone Myers, Brian – San Diego State University; Christopher Clark – University of California, Riverside; Kevin Burns – San Diego State University

Thursday, 5:30 pm, General Lightning Session D, Room 11 Gunston West
Genetic and behavioral divergence among Northern Cardinal populations: testing the permeability of a biogeographic barrier Provost, Kaiya – Columbia University/American Museum of Natural History; William Mauck – American Museum of Natural History; Brian Smith – American Museum of Natural History

Thursday, 5:50 pm, General Lightning Session D, Room 11 Gunston West
Asymmetric gene flow during the protracted diversification of dry-forest- bird assemblages in northwest Peru Oswald, Jessica – Louisiana State University; Isaac Overcast – City College of New York; William Mauck – American Museum of Natural History; Michael Andersen – University of New Mexico; Brian Smith – American Museum of Natural History

Thursday, 6:05 pm, General Lightning Session D, Room 11 Gunston West
Endemism in the Pacific lowlands of Mexico: Phylogeography of the White- collared Seedeater (Sporophila torqueola) Mason, Nicholas – Cornell University; Arturo Olvera-Vital – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; Adolfo Navarro- Sigüenza – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Thursday, 6:45 pm, General Lightning Session D, Room 12 Cardozo
Phylogenomics of Lories and Lorikeets (Order: Psittaciformes) Mauck, William – American Museum of Natural History; Michael Andersen – University of New Mexico; Brett Benz – American Museum of Natural History; Brian Smith – American Museum of Natural History

Friday, 4:30 pm, Room 14 Cabinet
Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of kingfishers (Alcedinidae) Andersen, Michael – University of New Mexico; Jenna McCullough – University of New Mexico; William Mauck III – American Museum of Natural History; Brian Smith – American Museum of Natural History; Robert Moyle – University of Kansas

Saturday, 11:30 am, Room 13 Fairchild East/West
Evolution of the Innate Immune System Across the Bird Tree of Life Shultz, Allison J. – Harvard University;  Julia Yu – Harvard University; Tim Sackton – Harvard University

Saturday, 11:45 am, Room 6 Lincoln West
Phylogeography and geographic variation in the Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) Barrowclough, George – American Museum of Natural History; Jeff Groth – American Museum of Natural History; Elizabeth Bramlett – American Museum of Natural History; William Mauck – American Museum of Natural History; Jonas Lai – American Museum of Natural History

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Bell’s Vireo Conservation Genetics

Congrats to Luke Klicka who just published his MS thesis in Conservation Genetics. Luke studied genetic variation in the Bell’s Vireo across its range using both mtDNA sequences and a genome-wide analysis of SNP data. In the paper, he provides evidence that there are two distinct species of Bell’s Vireo, one in the eastern part of the range and one in the western part of the range. In addition, the samples of Least Bell’s Vireo subspecies included in the study were genetically distinct and formed their own clade. Thus, his paper provides the first evidence that this endangered subspecies is genetically distinct from other Bell’s Vireos. Collaborators on the project include Barbara Kus, who has worked with the Least Bell’s Vireo for years, and former Burns lab student Pascal Title, who added a niche modeling element to the paper.

Klicka, L. B.*, B. E. Kus, P. T. Title*, and K. J. Burns. in press. Conservation Genomics reveals multiple evolutionary units within Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii). Conservation Genetics. pdf

Bell's Vireo

Bell’s Vireo, Elephant Mountain, Texas, photo by S. Walsh

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Welcome Amelia!

The Burns lab welcomes new MS student Amelia Demery this semester. She received her BS in Biology (emphasis: Zoology) from California Polytechnic State University in Pomona. At Cal Poly, Amelia participated in a variety of teaching, research, and outreach activities. For her thesis, Amelia is working on morphological evolution in tanagers. Welcome Amelia!

Amelia Demery

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