SHARP Maine field tech Jennie Wiacek wins research award for her senior thesis on Sharp-tailed Sparrow bill morphology

SHARP Maine demographics technician 2012-2013 and recent Unity College graduate Jennie Wiacek won the undergraduate research award at a Unity student conference.  Jennie examined the shape of Saltmarsh Sparrow bill size across the global species range.  She found that individuals breeding further north exhibit larger bill sizes, and that the closely-related Nelson’s Sparrow has a smaller bill surface areas than Saltmarsh Sparrows.  She discussed hybridization with Nelson’s Sparrows and the fasting endurance hypothesis of Bergmann’s rule as possible explanations.  Jennie will further explore these ideas this summer as she continues her analysis and leads the SHARP Maine field crew.

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