314 | A Stressful Bird Life

February 22, 2021

Contaminants in food sources can cause serious problems for wildlife physiology, especially for birds who feed of marine life and aquatic insects that are exposed to high levels of methylmercury (MeHg). On top of contaminants, birds experience food stress from many environmental factors such as predators, food shortage, unpredictable weather, and interaction with humans. Now, what happens when birds consume MeHg contaminants while experiencing food stress? Does this contaminant worsen the physiology of birds when under food stress or does it somehow counteract the effect? Biology PhD student Claire Bottini talks about her research on this topic with hosts Gavin Tolometti and Laura Munoz. Claire tells the hosts how she studies the effects that food stress and MeHg exposure have on the song sparrow species Melospiza melodia, and how she plans to continue her experiments through the pandemic.

To learn more about Claire's research, check out her twitter account @ClaireBottini


Recorded on Feb 16, 2021

Produced by Laura Munoz Baena

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