FRESC Migratory Connectivity Team

Science Center Objects

Migratory Connectivity is the geographic linking of individuals or populations between stages of an animal's life cycle. Migration is most often associated with birds, and each year upwards of 5 billion birds worldwide migrate to their breeding or wintering grounds, stopping along the way to eat, rest, or find cover.

Understanding migratory connectivity is key to species survival, aspects of human quality of life, and addressing environmental challenges as small as a housing permit or as large as climate change or a devastating oil spill. It is critical to predicting and addressing spread of diseases (human and bird), assessing risk of collisions with aircraft, positioning alternative-energy structures, and many other human-development options. Connectivity can mean the difference between saving or losing an endangered species.

Every aspect of our lab work is linked to solving issues related to migratory connectivity and full life-cycle biology. The framework for these projects can be found within the Migratory Connectivity Project developed by Peter Marra (Smithsonian Institution) and Susan Haig (USGS FRESC). We strive to take a multi-spatial, temporal, and technological approach to movement and population structure problems in order to provide the most comprehensive understanding of the current issues. This can range from use of molecular markers to satellite transmitters to stable isotopes.

Principal Investigator

Susan Haig - Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist

Federal Staff

Elise Elliott-Smith - Wildlife Biologist

Mark Miller - Statistician

Jeff Hollenbeck - Biologist (Statistician)

Thomas Mullins - Geneticist