For Associate Professor of Biology Mark Deutschlander, the Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) annual meeting not only was an important occasion to present his recent work on the black-capped chickadee, but also marked his election to serve as the organization’s second vice president, and eventually its president.
“I was blown away that my name was on the original list of three nominees, and even more surprised when the council decided on me as the sole nominee for the vote by membership,” Deutschlander says. “There are very highly respected scientists on council who I admire very much. Their recognition of my service and confidence in me to lead the WOS in the future is an honor.”
Deutschlander will serve two years as second vice president, two years as first vice president and two years as president before spending an additional two years as past-president. The WOS is the second oldest and second largest scientific ornithological society in North America.
At the annual meeting, which was held this year at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., Deutschlander addressed the subject of energetics and orientation in an irruptive migrant, the black-capped chickadee. The research he presented was part of Robert Taylor’s ’11 honor’s thesis, which Deutschlander collaborated on and advised. Taylor and Deutschlander are currently preparing a manuscript of this research to publish in an ornithological journal.
Also presenting at the conference was Christine Eldredge ’10, who recently began a Master of Science degree in biology at Villanova University, where she is studying chickadee behavior. Eldredge’s presentation featured the patterns of parental attentiveness in Carolina chickadees. She is one of the 2013 recipients of the WOS Paul A. Stewart Award, which is a research award given to studies involving field work and methodological techniques to monitor bird movements.
Eldredge’s interest in chickadees began while taking a biology senior seminar on bird migration with Deutschlander. She completed a course project examining energetics of migration in black-capped chickadees, which led to the project Taylor and Deutschlander conducted. Eldredge also will be a co-author of the manuscript Taylor and Deutschlander are preparing.
Deutschlander’s research interest in birds and migration began while he was an undergraduate student with Dr. Robert Beason at S.U.N.Y. Geneseo, where together they studied the magnetic sense of bobolinks. He also has studied magnetic navigation in Australian silvereyes, as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Technology in Sydney.
Deutschlander received his Ph.D. in zoology from Indiana University, where he specialized in animal behavior and minored in neuroscience. His research over the past 20 years has focused on sensory aspects of migration and navigation, particular the use of visual cues and the earth’s magnetic field in animal orientation. He has conducted experiments on a wide variety of organisms, including salamanders, trout, hamsters, and, of course, birds.
In the photo above, Associate Professor of Biology Mark Deutschlander, Christine Eldredge ’10 and Bob Curry, Elredge’s advisor at Villanova University, gather for a photo during the Wilson Ornithological Society meeting held at the College of William and Mary.