Students Conduct Research at UT to Find Rare Birds in Smokies

 

Undergraduates from across the country and their research mentors, David Buehler at UT and Arik Kershenbaum at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), will try to find rare birds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a part of a project to help protect and maintain species’ biodiversity in the park.

The event is 8-10 a.m., Thursday, June 27, at the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge, 2809 Kelly Lane, Kodak, Tennessee.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a large number of rare bird species, but finding where they live and how many there are is difficult. Students will record bird songs, develop signal processing algorithms to detect and identify the calls automatically, and then test these algorithms on unattended 24-hour recordings from the park. Automated equipment that can detect and identify the birds’ calls and songs would allow park staff to quantify and localize the presence of rare birds and plan management accordingly.

The students are participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program organized by NIMBioS.

These students join a highly select group of nineteen undergraduates total conducting research as a part of NIMBioS’ Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program from June 10 to August 2. The participants live on campus and work in teams with NIMBioS postdoctoral researchers and UT professors on various mathematical biology research projects. The organizer, NIMBioS, is located on the UT campus and fosters new collaborative efforts to investigate biological questions using mathematical and computational methods. More information on REU is available at www.nimbios.org/reu.

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