September 2021

Adele Balmer, PhD student in the lab completed the COVES Fellowship over the summer and was highlighted in this great article

Also, Nina Brundle and Tyler Hohenstein have officially joined the lab as MS students, Nina in the Center for Environmental Studies and Tyler in the Bioinformatics program. Welcome!

Undergraduate volunteers are monitoring bird-window collisions on campus throughout fall migration.







August 2021

Hannah Coovert Meister’s thesis research (Predicting Pasture and Forest Landowner Intention to Create Early Successional Habitat) was published in the Journal of Wildlife Management

May- July 2021

Brooke Goodnow and Zack Grasso conduct bird surveys in Southwest Virginia to validate a model of predicted Vermivora occupancy developed by Baron Lin





















Avian interns assisted with long term data collection for Prothonotary Warbler breeding and survival as well as the inaugural year of MAPS at the VCU Rice Rivers Center.











Clockwise from top left: Nina Brundle, Jorge Garzon, Tyler Hohenstein, Cathy Viverette, Lesley Bulluck, and Nikki Novak

April 2021

Baron Lin successfully defended his MS thesis: Using a novel land cover classification to identify multi-scale drivers of site occupancy by a flagship species for early successional habitat and private lands conservation

January 2021

Excellent presentations from the lab at the virtual Virginia Wildlife Society Meeting!

  • Adele shared her structural equation models that explore factors affecting Prothonotary Warbler juvenile recruitment.
  • Samantha summarized her fecal metabarcoding data for Prothonotary Warblers nesting in Virginia and how prey varies in early in late nests.
  • Baron summarized his occupancy model results for Golden-winged Warblers where he used a recently developed, lidar-derived custom land cover classification that accuracy represents shrubs.

July 2020/August 2020

As we prepare for the strange fall semester, the Bulluck lab also [virtually] attends professional meetings to share their research findings!

  • Elsa Chen presented at the Animal Behavior Society in July
  • Elsa Chen, Samantha Rogers, and Adele Balmer presented at the virtual North American Ornithological Congress (NAOC) meeting in August

May 2020:

Amidst these crazy COVID pandemic times, Elsa Chen successfully defended her master’s Thesis via a Zoom meeting:
The Influence of Breeding Density on Female Aggression, Parental Care, and Ornamentation in a Secondary-Cavity Nesting Warbler

November 2019:

Previous master’s students Jessie Reese and Ben Nickley both have thesis chapters that made it to publication this month!

Jessie’s manuscript Using stable isotopes to estimate migratory connectivity for a patchily-distributed, wetland-associated Neotropical migrant can now be found in The Condor and Ben’s manuscript Winter roost-site selection by red-headed woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) in a burned forest stand can be found in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

September 2019:

New paper published in Ecology and Evolution about overwintering habitat use and occupancy dynamics in Prothontary Warblers.

Results from our survey of private landowners in western Virginia to assess willingness to manage for shrubland habitat was highlighted in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries blog!

August 2019: Abby Walter and Hannah Coovert successfully defended their master’s theses!

Abby’s thesis title is: Factors influencing parental care and home range size in a monomorphic species, the Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Hannah’s thesis title is: Evaluation of Private Landowners Intention to Create Early Successional Habitat in Virginia’s Appalachian Region

Range-wide Prothonotary Warbler geolocator data published in The Condor!
…and was featured in the Washington Post!

Pics from the field…..Baron Lin has joined the lab and is helping with Vermivora surveys in Southwest Virginia this spring.  He will be starting as a Biology Master’s student in the fall.  …and he is a great photographer too!

May 2019: Not only are our field seasons is FULL swing, but Ben Nickley’s second thesis Chapter was published in Forest Ecology and Management

April 2019: Two new lab publications!!
Matt DeSaix’s thesis research gets published in Molecular Ecology!

A collaboration comparing feather reflectance in PROW between Virginia and Arkansas was just published in The Auk!

December 2018: Ben Nickley successfully defended his Master’s Thesis!  Red-headed Woodpecker full annual cycle ecology at Fort AP Hill Virginia.  The first chapter of which has been accepted for publication in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology and the second chapter is in review.  Nice work Ben!

August 2018: Samantha Rogers and Elsa Chen join the Bulluck lab!  Samantha is a PhD student (co-advised by Paul Bukaveckas) interested in questions related to Prothonotary Warbler diet and the broader food web of the James River.  Elsa is an MS student interested in behavioral ecology and conservation.

August 2018: Bulluck lab collaboration with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is highlighted on the DGIF blog

July 2018: Liz Schold successfully defended her Master’s Thesis! Using a custom landscape classification to understand the factors driving site occupancy by a rapidly declining migratory songbird.Nice Work!!

Bulluck lab alum Anna Tucker’s recent publication showing no apparent effect of conspecific brood parasitism on Prothontary Warbler female survival was highlighted on the BOU blog today – LINK

June 2018: Liz Schold presented her research at the Wilson Ornithological Society Meeting in Chattanooga, TN and Lesley took part in a symposium on Woodpeckers as Surrogate Species at the European Congress for the Society of Conservation Biology in Jyvaskyla Finland.


April 2018: Several lab members attended the AOS meeting in Tucson, Arizona and presented their research.  Liz Schold received a student presentation award for her research on landscape scale drivers of occupancy in Golden-winged Warblers.  Jessie Reese and Matt DeSaix also presented their research.

March 2018: New Lab Publication: Population trends in Vermivora warblers are linked to strong migratory connectivity.

October 2017: Delayed announcement….Adele Balmer and Hannah Coovert joined the Bulluck lab this fall semester.  Adele is a PhD student working on Prothonotary Warbler demographics using the long term data set and Hannah is developing a survey that will help us to better understand private landowner attitudes and behaviors related to high elevation shrubland management in western Virginia.

September 2017: New Lab PublicationNo evidence for a negative effect of conspecific brood parasitism on annual survival of female Prothonotary Warblers

June 2017: Abby Walter joins the Bulluck lab!  Her thesis research will address Red-headed Woodpecker nesting behavior and habitat use at Fort AP Hill, Virginia.

May 2017: Jessie Reese successfully defended her MS thesis: A range-wide assessment of migratory connectivity for the prothonotary warbler using stable hydrogen isotopes!

January 2017:  New Lab Publication – Feather carotenoid content is correlated with reproductive success and provisioning rate in female Prothonotary Warblers.

October 2016: Jenna Dodson’s MS thesis was published in Ecology and Evolution!
Dodson*, J., N. Moy*, and L. P. Bulluck. 2016. Prothonotary warbler growth and condition in response to variation in aquatic and terrestrial prey availability.  Ecology and Evolution.  DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2400

September 2016: Nik Moy’s MS thesis was published in Environmental Science and Technology!  Moy, N., J. Dodson, S. J. Tassone, P. Bukaveckas, and L. Bulluck.  Biotransport of an algal toxin in a riparian food web.  Environmental Science and Technology doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02760

August 2016: Bulluck lab has a strong presence at NAOC in DC!  Great conference with an unprecedented mix of academic and agency folks as well as strong showing from countries outside of North America.

June 2016: Dan Albrecht-Mallinger’s MS thesis was published in The Condor!
Albrecht-Mallinger, D., and L. P. Bulluck. 2016.  Limited evidence for conspecific attraction in a low-density population of a declining songbird, the Golden-winged Warbler. The Condor 118(3):451-462.

May 2016: Ashley Gruppenhoff and Michael Barber are retrieving geolocators from Golden-winged warblers in Highland county!  Read about it and see pictures HERE

May 2016: Graduation!!  Several well deserving undergraduates from the Bulluck lab have graduated!  Congrats and go on to do great things…and keep in touch!
–Ashley Gruppenhoff: Outstanding Biology Graduate (Ecol ) and completed a senior thesis
–Miranda Foster: Outstanding Environmental Studies Graduate
–Amanda McGhee, Biology Graduate and completed a senior thesis

April 2016: Jessie Reese receives a $12,000 Career Development Grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW)!  Congrats Jessie!

April 2016: Liz Schold joins the Bulluck lab!  She and Ally Lahey began working at Fort AP Hill and along the James River to study the breeding ecology of Prothonotary Warblers in both natural cavities and artificial nesting boxes.

tarsus measure

March 2016: Anna Tucker’s Master’s thesis research was published in The Auk!
Tucker, Anna M., Rodney J. Dyer, Sarah K. Huber, and Lesley P. Bulluck.  Opportunistic conspecific brood parasitism in a box-nesting population of Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea). The Auk: 133 (2): 298-307.

February 2016: Ben Nickley joins the Bulluck lab!  He and Abby Walter began working at Fort AP Hill in January where they are conducting surveys for all cavity nesting species and devising schemes to capture and color mark Red-headed Woodpeckers.IMG_5265 IMG_5264

January 2016: Lesley and Jessie Reese travel to Colombia!  Jessie stayed for the month to visit five mangrove and lagoon forests to study Prothonotary Warblers.  It is very exciting to learn more about this species and the habitats it occupies during the non-breeding season.  Can’t wait to return.  Thanks Nick, Camila, Angela (with SELVA) and Allesandro Molina (VCU graduate) for all of your help to make this expedition a success!Jessie in Colombia_happy

You can read more about Jessie’s adventures in Colombia here.

August 2015: Jessie Reese receives a grant from the Riverbank Conservation Support fund to support her MS thesis work.  She will use the funds to travel to Colombia, South America this winter where she will study Prothonotary Warblers in mangrove forests.

July 2015: Jenna Dodson and Nik Moy successfully defend their master’s theses and present their research at the AOU meeting in Oklahoma.

May 2015: With the help of Gunnar Kramer (student of H. SGW with geotreby) and his crew, we deployed 23 geolocators on Golden-winged Warblers and two on hybrids in Highland and Bath counties, VA. This is part of a range-wide effort where hundreds of geos will be deployed on Golden-winged Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers and their hybrids.

March 2015: Jessie Reese joins the Bulluck lab!  She is leading a crew working in the wetlands of Fort AP Hill to conduct Prothonotary Warbler density surveys.  Jessie’s thesis work will assess the degree of migratory connectivity in this species using stable isotope analysis.

March 2015: Dan Allbrecht-Mallinger, MS graduate from May 2014, starts his PhD research in Panama working with Dr. Corey Tarwater, University of Wyoming.

February 2015: Jenna Dodson was accepted into the Peace Corps!  She will head to western Africa in September after defending her MS thesis this spring.  We are very excited for you Jenna!

January 2015: The Panama Avian Field Ecology study abroad course just returned from two weeks studying Prothonotary Warblers in the mangroves.

January 2015: Anna Tucker, MS graduate from May 2014, starts her PhD program at Auburn University working with Conor McGowan.

December 2014: Nik Moy and Wyatt Carpenter are awarded the “Best Infographic” award in a course they were taking that aimed to teach scientists better communication skills.  This course is part of a larger effort spearheaded by Dan McGarvey to merge science and art.  Stay tuned for links to their final products!

June 2014: Twenty-five geolocators were attached to male and female Prothonotary Warblers along the Lower James River.  We hope to retrieve many of them in spring 2015!

June 2014: Jeffress Grant ($100,000) awarded to Suzanne Robertson (Dept of Math) and Lesley Bulluck.  The Impact of Temporal Variation in Host Life-Stage Abundance on the Regional Transmission and Control of West Nile Virus with collaborator Kevin Caillouett (Research Entomologist, St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District, Slidell, LA).