As industrialization and man-made boundaries encroach on birds’ natural habitats, Jonathon Valente is working to track how bird populations adapt. Their ability to fly from habitat to habitat — sometimes across great distances — makes it difficult to create accurate population models. Determining how birds select where to mate and raise their young could benefit everything from conversation initiatives to Department of Defense programs aimed at preventing bird collisions with military aircraft.
Jonathon’s previous work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on migratory forest songbirds led to a connection with Matthew Betts, a professor of Forest Ecosystems and Society. Jonathon’s fieldwork skills and an aptitude for statistics made him a natural choice for Betts’ research on the major drivers behind bird populations.
The Provost’s Distinguished Graduate Fellowship makes it possible to bring top students like Jonathon to Oregon State, and he has consistently demonstrated his ability.
“Within very little time he put together a research design, collaborating with Smithsonian scientists, me and the DOD, but the research design was self-directed. He implemented it, hired a whole field crew and trained them. The only way you’re going to learn to become an independent scientist is to have a fair amount of flexibility in what you’re doing. Right out of the gates, he’s showing a high degree of independence in his research. That’s the type of person we should be attracting to OSU.”
Matthew G. Betts
For more information on Jonathon’s research, please visit the Betts Forest Landscape Ecology Lab website.