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Honors in the News

Rosemary Hopson


I am researching neighborhood effects on frugivory rates on a native Hawaiian plant species, Dianella sandwicensis. Oahu has no extant native frugivorous birds which has affected the seed dispersal of native plant species. Oahu also has a lot of invasive plant species that are competing with native plants. I am looking to see if the frugivory rates of D. sandwicensis is affected by its neighborhood in particular the abundance of nonnative and native fruits, focal plant characteristics, and concealment. I am on Oahu for 6 weeks this summer to collect field data and then will spend the next year analyzing data and writing a paper.


Josephine Tagestad

woman holding a distance listening device

I am working with audio recordings tracking the behavior of red-called manakins, Ceratopipra mentalis. I'm quantifying audio snippets of the various vocalizations made at a lek by the males in an effort to establish a non-invasive method for a) identifying individuals and b) establishing a system for population monitoring. So far, it seems that there is indeed a clear difference between each bird's calls, which is very exciting. I travel to Panamá this January to work with the birds myself, to address whether they can determine individual identity among their own peers and assess the effect that ambient noise has on their vocalizations. This research will provide insight into the effects of climate change in the tropics, as C. mentalis is a sensitive species, as well as address the overall population health, the effects of development on the environment, and create a new method for any reliable bird species to safely assess their population. It's a project at the forefront of bioacoustics that's reassessing some of the assumptions we've made about avian intelligence.

bird with red head

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