Welcome to the newest member of the Powers Lab, senior biology major Rosey Elting. Rosey joined the lab to gain research experience in preparation for graduate school following her graduation from George Fox next Fall. This Summer Rosey will travel to Arizona where she will measure maximum feeding rate in the four hummingbird species that have been the focus of the NASA project the past three years. Current Rosey is busy working in the lab to work out the serial interface between the balances she will use in her experiments and the laptop computers that will be used to record data.
In response to decreasing federal funding for basic research the Powers Lab is trying a new approach! CrowdFunding! An increasing number of research labs are taking this approach, particularly for project that involve thinking outside the box. The intent of the Powers Lab campaign is to raise funds to get students into the field and pay them a summer stipend.
The Powers Lab has set up a GoFundMe page where you can get more information, watch a video, and see some photos. We will also be periodically posting updates related to the campaign. If you would like to support our research click on the link below.
Last month six members of the Powers lab traveled to West Palm Beach, FL for the 2015 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting. Those on the trip were Don Powers, Becca Schroeder, Joey Canepa, Sarah Nutter, Mimi Camacho, and Sean Powers. The entire group present data from this past summer’s field season and the third year of our NASA-supported project on the effects of climate change on hummingbirds. Here are some photo highlights!!
Mimi exploring posters on nest structure!!
Don talking on hummingbirds and climate change!!
Sarah talking heat dissipation with Mark Chappell!!
Becca explaining torpor in tropical hummingbirds!!
Joey talking doubly labeled water!!!
Sean talking about heat dissipation!!
Mimi working the crowd!!
Sean with his poster!!
The Powers Lab team at SICB 2015!!
Becca with her poster!!!
Joey with his poster!!
Mimi with her poster!!
Sarah with her poster!
Sara Nutter, junior biology major , joined the lab this spring. Sara is interested in both field sciences and science writing and will continue infrared (IR) thermography studies in southeastern Arizona started by Katie Langland the last two years. This year Sara will extend the IR work to high-elevation sites in an effort to increase our understanding of hummingbird tolerance of high environmental temperature. Sara’s work, along with other projects she will contribute to, is part of the lab’s NASA-funded work on how hummingbirds might respond to climate change. Sara’s work this summer will be funded by a George Fox University (GFU) Richter Scholar Grant.
Noemi (“Mimi”) Camacho, sophomore biology major, will also be joining the lab this spring. While Mimi is interested in a career as a health professional she feels developing her basic science skills is complimentary to her professional goals. Mimi’s core project will be mapping the thermal profile of our focal landscapes in southeastern Arizona. This work, along with other projects Mimi will be involved in, is critical to the lab’s assessment of how hummingbirds might respond to climate change. Mimi’s work this summer will be funded by a George Fox University (GFU) Richter Scholar Grant.
This year’s field season officially got underway with a week long workshop in southeastern Arizona. The purpose of the workshop was for the PIs of the hummingbird climate change project to select specific Arizona landscapes to be studied and to agree on questions to be addressed this coming summer. Additionally several interns from various parts of South America who will be working on the project this summer attended the workshop and were introduced to a variety of protocols for assessing nectar resources and measuring hummingbird energetics.
The Powers lab used this time to try out a revision of the non-invasive hummingbird doubly labeled water (DLW) protocol. The specific revision involves changing how we measure the initial dose size of isotopic water. To make this method totally non-invasive hummingbirds are dosed by feeding them nectar made with isotopically enriched water. Last summer dose size was calculated by weighing a syringe feeder before and after feeding the hummingbirds. This proved to be problematic as the syringe would occasionally drip creating large errors in our measured dose size. This year we have switched to measuring the bird before and after feeding. Additionally, we have purchased a more precise scale which should also improve the accuracy of our measurements.
The DLW sessions done during the workshop were highly successful! Between the two sessions (El Coronado Ranch and the Santa Rita Experimental Range) we labeled a total of 78 hummingbirds and recaptured 29. Our 37% recapture rate would be the envy of most doing DLW studies!