tws members studying birds

Monitoring birds on military land

Image: TWS member Jeff Foster, right, an associate professor at Northern Arizona University, recently received a Defense Department grant to use genetic techniques to evaluate bird habitat on military installations. Credit: Northern Arizona University

Researchers will be using a technique called metabarcoding to monitor habitat quality for bird species on Department of Defense instillations. Led by TWS member Jeff Foster, an associated professor at Northern Arizona University, the team will be using a grant awarded by the DoD to conduct the three-year project. The research will focus on five insectivorous bird species, including golden-cheeked warblers (Setophaga chrysoparia) and black-capped vireos (Vireo atricapilla), at Fort Hood, Texas; least Bell’s vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) at Camp Pendleton, California; golden-winged warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin’ and Oahu elepaios (Chasiempis ibidis) at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The team will use environmental DNA to identify species in each area, including insects that the birds eat.

Read more about the project here.

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