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I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences and a member of the Schmidt lab.  Broadly speaking, I am interested the ecology, behavior, and conservation of animals.  Over the years, the bulk of my work has centered on avian ecology and behavior, however, I would not consider myself a strict ornithologist.  My doctoral research investigates the use of spatial refugia and environmental cues used by breeding songbirds to assess heterogeneity in predation risk. 

My doctoral research is conducted in upstate New York on the property of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook.  Two common nest predators of birds at our study site, and in temperate forests in general, are mice and chipmunks.  Spatial heterogeneity in these predaceous rodents may strongly influence where birds choose to settle and build their nests, decisions that may ultimately affect their reproductive success.  This work focuses on two neotropical migratory songbirds, the veery (Catharus fuscescens) and ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus).  Both of these songbirds nest on or close to the ground making their nests highly susceptible to predation from a variety of ground-foraging predators.   

The first manuscript resulting from this work was recently published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.  The study experimentally demonstrated, using playbacks of chipmunk vocalizations, that ovenbirds eavesdrop on chipmunk calls to identify “hotspots” of chipmunk activity and avoid these areas by nesting instead in areas perceived as relatively chipmunk-free.  


Q U I N N  C.  E M M E R I N G

T  e  x  a  s   T  e  c  h   U  n  i  v  e  r  s  i  t  y

Quinn C. Emmering

Dept. of Biological Sciences

Texas Tech University

Biology Bldg, Room 407

Lubbock, Texas 79409-3131

quinn.emmering at ttu dot edu