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Biology of Migratory Birds

**This VIP is not accepting students for Fall 2024**

What is the ambitious goal of the project?

Rapidly changing environments create both an opportunity to understand eco-evolutionary processes in biological systems, and a pressing need to identify species that may be vulnerable to environmental change. Our team has two ongoing, long-term projects focused on American kestrels and golden eagles to address questions about emerging environmental threats, and behavioral and evolutionary processes that affect population resilience. Students will participate in field and laboratory activities, and develop writing, communication, and data analysis skills.

Experience Gained

  • Join our team to learn about the biology migratory birds, from their genetics to their landscape distribution, and conduct research on how birds are responding to environmental change.
  • Experience conducting research in field (handling birds, sampling environment, technology) and laboratory (processing samples, DNA extraction, image evaluation) settings; data management and analysis, R programming, scientific method, communication of research results to scientists, stakeholders, and the public.
  • Methodologies used in this project: coding and coding software, fieldwork, K-12 outreach and collaboration, laboratory testing, quantitative research methods, and writing.

Majors or Interests Needed

  • Anthropology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biomolecular PhD Program
  • Chemistry-Biochemistry
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Studies Program
  • Geosciences
  • Mathematics

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Julie Heath is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and operates the Avian Ecology and Conservation Lab. Contact Dr. Heath at

Dr. Stephanie Galla is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and operates the Conservation Genetics Lab. Contact Dr. Galla at

Course Information

VIPĀ  200, VIP 400 or VIP 500
Full semester course. Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits.

Interested in joining this team?

Full for Fall 2023. There will be availability for Spring 2024.

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Dr. Heath at OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you. Check out this page for tips on contacting a professor.

To register search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, read the project description to find the right section of VIP 200, 400, or 500.

Here are instructions for using permission numbers Add with a permission number