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Honors in the News

Rosemary Hopson

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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.

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Josephine Tagestad

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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.

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Courtney Kudera

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My name is Courtney Kudera and I am a senior in the honors program. For the fall semester I am abroad in India! Life here is entirely different from life in Laramie, and weather is only the beginning. Festivals, temples, color, flowers, and gardens are everywhere in the city. With delicious food and a rich culture, India is as entirely different from life in the U. S.  Study abroad is one of the best ways to learn everyday, inside and outside the classroom! 

Kristina Zaharas

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For the past year I have been conducting research in Dr. Jonathan Prather's laboratory, where we studied the circuits in the bird brain that are important to decision-making. Because technology present today lacks the ability to explore the human brain with sufficient resolution to understand the circuit and the cellular mechanisms that underlie the process, we rely on songbirds to act as a search image. Because the avian brain is so similar to that of a human brain, we can use our findings to better understand human decision-making as well.

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The Honors College

Guthrie House

1200 Ivinson St.

Laramie, WY 82070

Phone: 307-766-4110

Fax: 307-766-4298

Email: honors@uwyo.edu

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