• My position with AOS:
Former President (2016-2018)
• My current full-time title and institution:
Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology, UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ)
• My current career stage:
• My lineage of mentors/labs:
My academic lineage traces back to Joseph Grinnell, the first Director of MVZ at Berkeley, which inspired me to retrace his footsteps throughout California in the Grinnell Resurvey Project http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Grinnell/
I produce ecological knowledge that can be used to both conserve biodiversity and understand how nature works. I learn from my students.
• My favorite bird and why:
I don’t play favorite – I love them all.
• I am involved with AOS because:
The best way to become a professional who studies birds is to spend time with ornithologists of all ages and learn from them at AOS meetings.
• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Meetings: hanging with ornithologists, making new friends, thinking deep thoughts, learning more about birds, and drinking good beverages
• Birds are important to me because:
Birds pierce the armor of our everyday life: conspicuous, sometimes beautiful, often melodious and usually able to fly, they engage us
• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Don’t be afraid to take the scenic route through academia. Taking time off for fieldwork before tackling a Ph.D. gave me pivotal experiences.
• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How can we best conserve our birds, and motivate people and decision makers to do the same?
• Fun random fact about myself:
I like to stand in streams and fling flies at spots where fish are supposed to be.
• Something else birdy I’d like to share:
I had no interest in birds until I took ornithology during my last quarter as an undergraduate. Fell in love and the rest is history.