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Forwarded with permission from the Kansas list.  Scott tells me that these birds use a nest only once, so collecting it after nestlings fledge has no effect on 2nd broods. 


On Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 10:39 AM, Scott Kimball <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



Hi Folks,


My name is Scott Kimball and I teach at Baker University in Baldwin City (Douglas Co.).  My colleague, Randy Miller, and I are beginning a project with Baker undergraduate students investigating the role that birds play in tardigrade (the famous water bears!) dispersal.  Randy is an internationally-recognized tardigrade taxonomist and I am helping him lead the avian part of the project.


One of the many interesting aspects of tardigrade biology is their close relationship to the moss and lichen-dominated parts of woodland habitats.  In these locations the tardigrades are vulnerable to being displaced by birds as the birds rub against the bark of trees covered in lichens and mosses while foraging and otherwise going about their daily activities.  In so doing, the tardigrades may inadvertently become translocated onto the bird's plumage only to be dislodged in a new (and hopefully suitable) location.  Not only that, but many birds preferentially select mosses and lichens as nesting materials. From a tardigrade's perspective, this means the potential displacement of habitat, and many of these microscopic animals presumably go along for the ride unbeknownst to their avian vectors.  Our students are beginning part of this project by looking for tardigrades in the nests of birds, especially those neotropical migrants that use mosses and lichens as nest building materials.


We are asking for help from the birding community to locate especially difficult to find nests, especially those of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Red-eyed Vireos (or any other vireo, in fact), and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.  If you are aware of the location of a nest of one of these species, we would be very grateful if you could privately email us (contact info below) so that we could discuss the possibility of accessing and acquiring the nest for the project. We plan to collect nests as soon as possible after nestlings have fledged, so some indication of the current status of the nest would be helpful.  Also, please feel free to email us with any questions you may have about the project!


Thanks for your support!

Scott Kimball


Scott A. Kimball, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

Boyd Science Center, room MS226

Baker University

P.O. Box 65

Baldwin City, KS 66006

Email: [log in to unmask]


William (Randy) Miller, Ph.D.

Coordinator of Student Research in Biology

Boyd Science Center, room MS225

Baker University

P.O. Box 65

Baldwin City, KS 66006

Email: [log in to unmask]


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