My PhD research focuses on a threatened migratory shorebird species called the red knot (Calidris canutus rufa). The subspecies we are investigating are fascinating in that they have tremendously long migrations — from their wintering grounds in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.
For my dissertation research, I am looking at factors that potentially are limiting red knots during their spring stopover along Virginia’s barrier islands. Specifically, I am interested in the effects of prey abundance/distribution/quality, island geomorphology, and ocean temperature/currents on red knot carry capacity in Virginia.
We hope that our research will help better management practices for the red knot along its migratory stopover range.