Beth MacDougall-ShackletonWestern Science
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    A bird in the hand... [Photo by S. Kubli]:

    A bird in the hand... [Photo by S. Kubli]

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    Sparrow Wranglers 2010:

    Sparrow Wranglers 2010

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    6-day-old song sparrow [Photo by D. Potvin]:

    6-day-old song sparrow [Photo by D. Potvin]

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    Sparrow Wranglers 2012:

    Sparrow Wranglers 2012

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    Field site at Newboro Lake [Photo by T. Kelly]:

    Field site at Newboro Lake [Photo by T. Kelly]

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    Sunrise in the field [Photo by T. Kelly]:

    Sunrise in the field [Photo by T. Kelly]

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    Set phasers to "Stunning".:

    Set phasers to "Stunning".

Evolutionary Ecology of Songbirds

With natural habitats and populations becoming increasingly fragmented by human activities, it is critical to understand the factors that maintain or erode genetic diversity. My research integrates approaches and insights from evolutionary and behavioural ecology, ecophysiology, and ecological immunology to develop hypotheses about the roles of infectious disease and sexual selection in maintaining genetic variation in the wild.

To accomplish these goals, my students and I use cutting-edge immune and genetic assays combined with hardcore fieldwork on songbirds. Much of our research centres around a long term study population of song sparrows, breeding near the Queen's University Biological Station. We also benefit from the unique facilities at Western's Advanced Facility for Avian Research.