Category Archives: Research News

Hummingbird Heat Budget Studies – University of Montana

Just returned from Dr. Bret Tobalske’s lab at the University of Montana.  This was our first trip into the field this year.  Along with research student Emma Bloomquist we collected infrared thermography, hovering metabolic rate, evaporative water loss, and particle image velocimetry data at both high and low temperature.  We will use these data to determine 1) if hummingbirds can compensate for the loss of passive heat dissipation with evaporative heat dissipation at high temperatures during hovering, and 2) if hummingbirds can balance their heat budgets at high temperature during hovering.  We also collected data for a side project….study to see if hummingbirds can dissipate heat via their bill.  Now, on to analysis!

Bret and Emma getting ready to collect data.

Calliope hummingbird feeding at our experimental feeder.

Emma setting up the infrared camera.

Emma gathering hovering metabolic rate data.

Emma and Don getting the flight chamber ready.

Emma setting up the metabolism system.

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting!!

The Powers Lab once again ventured to the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) meeting held this year in New Orleans January 4-8.  We had a good crew at the meeting consisting of Dr. Powers, current research students Elizah Stephens and Nathan Weston, former research students Sean Powers and Rosey Elting, and Anusha Shankar our collaborating Ph.D. student from Stony Brook University.  Dr. Powers gave an updated talk on hummingbird heat dissipation during hovering, Anusha gave a talk on modeling energy budgets in hummingbirds, and Sean gave a talk on lizards existing at the extreme limits of their range.  Elizah presented a poster on microbial contamination in hummingbird feeders, Nathan gave a poster on the contribution of feeders to the daily energy budget in hummingbirds, and Sean presented a poster on physiological regulation of head dissipation in hummingbirds.  Dr. Powers also co-authored a presentation given by Derrick Groom, a graduate student in Dr. Ken Welch’s lab, on hummingbird wing allometry.  Powers Lab research was well represented at SICB!



North American Ornithological Conference

The Powers lab attended the North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC) in Washington, DC August 16-21.  While no current research students attended the conference, oral presentations were given by Dr. Powers, Anusha Shankar, and former Powers Lab student Rosey Elting.  Dr. Powers presented a paper on heat dissipation during hovering in hummingbirds.  Anusha Shankar, a Ph.D. student at Stony Brook University who has been working with the Powers Lab, presented a paper on hummingbird use of torpor at high nighttime temperatures.  Her presentation included data collected as part of Lab’s NASA grant.  Rosey Elting, a recent GFU graduate, presented her work on maximal feeding rates in hummingbirds.  This work was done while a research student in the Powers Lab.





Powers Lab Welcomes a New Team Member!!

IMG_3399Welcome to the newest member of the Powers Lab, senior biology major Rosey Elting. Rosey joined the lab to gain research experience in preparation for graduate school following her graduation from George Fox next Fall.  This Summer Rosey will travel to Arizona where she will measure maximum feeding rate in the four hummingbird species that have been the focus of the NASA project the past three years.  Current Rosey is busy working in the lab to work out the serial interface between the balances she will use in her experiments and the laptop computers that will be used to record data.

Powers Lab to try CrowdFunding to Fund Summer Hummingbird Work in Ecuador!!

In response to decreasing federal funding for basic research the Powers Lab is trying a new approach!  CrowdFunding!  An increasing number of research labs are taking this approach, particularly for project that involve thinking outside the box.  The intent of the Powers Lab campaign is to raise funds to get students into the field and pay them a summer stipend.

The Powers Lab has set up a GoFundMe page where you can get more information, watch a video, and see some photos.  We will also be periodically posting updates related to the campaign. If you would like to support our research click on the link below.

Powers Lab GoFundMe Page