Academic department under which the project should be listed

Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Sarah Guindre-Parker

no human subjects.

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Many habitats face fluctuating temperatures year round. The animals that live there are typically able to adjust their behaviors to match these conditions. When temperatures become too extreme, however, it could potentially start having a negative effect on the animal’s reproductive success. In birds, for example, severe climate can affect their eggs and nestlings due to nestlings lacking the ability to thermoregulate. The parents then have to bear the responsibility of thermoregulation for their young, through a behavior called incubation or brooding. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are a species of birds common across the United States where both parents incubate their eggs and or brood their nestlings. In order to understand how the weather could impact these birds, we used nest cameras to record the behaviors of starling parents from March to June of 2020. We then used NOAA historical weather data to assess whether temperatures during the daytime shaped the number of eggs these starlings laid (clutch size). We also checked to see if weather temperatures effected the incubation and brooding behaviors of parents when they were keeping their nestlings warm (thermoregulation). We hypothesized that extreme temperatures (too warm or too cold) would results in less eggs at the nest, and more parental care from the parents.

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Understanding how Temperature influences European Starling’s Reproductive Success

Many habitats face fluctuating temperatures year round. The animals that live there are typically able to adjust their behaviors to match these conditions. When temperatures become too extreme, however, it could potentially start having a negative effect on the animal’s reproductive success. In birds, for example, severe climate can affect their eggs and nestlings due to nestlings lacking the ability to thermoregulate. The parents then have to bear the responsibility of thermoregulation for their young, through a behavior called incubation or brooding. European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are a species of birds common across the United States where both parents incubate their eggs and or brood their nestlings. In order to understand how the weather could impact these birds, we used nest cameras to record the behaviors of starling parents from March to June of 2020. We then used NOAA historical weather data to assess whether temperatures during the daytime shaped the number of eggs these starlings laid (clutch size). We also checked to see if weather temperatures effected the incubation and brooding behaviors of parents when they were keeping their nestlings warm (thermoregulation). We hypothesized that extreme temperatures (too warm or too cold) would results in less eggs at the nest, and more parental care from the parents.