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Listen here to Episode 1: "Nothing to Eat"
Anne Corkery, Master's student at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, holding a semipalmated plover

Episode 1: "Nothing to eat"

Anne is studying a small shorebird, a semipalmated plover, or SEPL for short. SEPLs migrate from South America to Churchill, which used to work well in the past, but with climate change, timing of the migration may be off.

Anne is exploring the hypothesis that there is no longer enough insects for the newly hatched chicks to eat because of climate change - earlier and warmer springs mean that the peak in the number of insects occurs earlier too, but the plovers still migrate to Churchill at the same time so their chicks are too late for the peak! This is called the mismatch hypothesis.

To test if the mismatch hypothesis is true, Anne has to do two things:
1. See how fast the chicks are growing
2. See how much food is available for the chicks

Is there enough food to grow? Is there evidence for the mismatch hypothesis? Listen to find out!

For more info you can visit Prof. Erica Nol's website, or visit allaboutbirds.org. For more pictures, you can also check out Facebook!

Anne's field assistant, Lisa, is tagging a plover chick so they can see how fast the chicks grow. How much food do chicks need to grow?
An emergence trap captures insects that come out of the ground and lets Anne see how much food is available to the chicks.
Two semipalmated plover chicks - Anne's study is the first to track growth rate in theses fast growing, hard to catch species!

Avioyak - the buzzing in ears - from Churchill, Manitoba.
My fourth year research thesis in Knowledge Integration, Centre for Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo.
2012 © Kaleigh Eichel
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Dr. LeeAnn Fishback, Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Dr. Ed Jernigan, Centre for Knowledge Integration, University of Waterloo