ASU’s Anna Pierce Receives 2016 Sue Wells Research Grant
Anna Pierce, a senior majoring in Biology at Appalachian State University, is the 2016 recipient of the Sue Wells Research Grant. The grant has been provided annually since 2012 to students doing research on birds in the North Carolina High Country.
Anna’s research will investigate “whether Eastern bluebirds and tree swallows…could be insightful wild bird model species for understanding how host density and individual personality traits influence disease prevalence.” Results will hopefully provide some answers to how bird diseases are spread and whether transmission is “more likely in individuals that breed in higher density and that have more aggressive personality types.”
In past years the Sue Wells Grant has helped students studying birds and cliff face ecology, Song Sparrow mating success and Tree Swallow hormone responses to aggression.
The grant program was created by HCAS in 2012 and named in memory of Sue Wells, one of the founding Board members of High Country Audubon Society, who served on the Board of Trustees until 2010. Sue was also instrumental in creating the National Bird-Feeding Society and led the movement to help make backyard bird feeding the successful hobby it is today.
Sue’s husband, Ralph Wells, passed away on June 29, 2016. Ralph generously supported the HCAS research grant and joined us at our membership meetings the last three years to help present the Sue Wells Research Grant to the selected student.
Anna Pierce, (left) receiving check from Jan Rhoney.
The 2015 Sue Wells Research Grant was awarded to Kristen Content, a graduate student at Appalachian State University. Kristen is looking at the relationship between bird personality and avian stress hormones in Tree Swallows. She has been monitoring 107 active nest boxes at Valle Crucis and Meat Camp.
Ralph Wells presenting check to Kristen Content
Appalachian State University student Angela Langevin was selected in 2014 and will be studying the interactions of the Western North Carolina cliff-nesting avian community with the cliff-face ecosystem they inhabit. She is a graduate student in ASU’s Biology program.
Morgan Harris, Dr. Lynn Siefferman and Bob Cherry (photo by Monty Combs)
The 2013 recipient of the Sue Wells Research Grant is Morgan Harris. A graduate student in the Biology Department at Appalachian State University, Mr. Harris was chosen to look at personalities of eastern blue- birds and how personalities affect reproduction and competition with tree swallows.
Jessica Krippel received the Sue Wells Research Grant in 2012 from Anita Clemmer, Past President of HCAS
photo by Monty Combs
High Country Audubon Society is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization Donations to High Country Audubon Society are tax-deductible as allowed by applicable law.
Banner photo of Saw-whet Owl courtesy of Jesse Pope.