Lab Heads to the Southwestern Research Station in Arizona

The Powers lab collected data on hummingbirds for nearly a month at the Southwestern Research Station (SWRS) from the latter part of May to late June. Collectively we gathered data on nighttime body temperature management, daytime body mass management, and evaporative heat dissipation during hovering. Collaborator Anusha Shankar (Stony Brook University) and Sarah arrived two weeks before the rest of us to finish up measurements showing use of shallow torpor by hummingbirds. Once Don and Natalie arrived measurements of daytime body mass management and evaporative heat dissipation began. While the evaporation measurements were less successful than we hoped, we still ended our time at SWRS with tons of good data.

Off to the University of Montana and Collaboration with the Tobalske Lab

Don Powers and Natalie Amodei traveled to Missoula, MT for the lab’s annual trip to work with Dr. Bret Tobalske. Over the years this has been a fruitful collaboration resulting in several publications relating to hummingbird physiology and biomechanics. This year we continued efforts to gather measurements of total evaporative heat dissipation in hovering calliope hummingbirds (Selasphorus calliope) before hopefully expanding these measurements to other species in Arizona next month.

Undergraduate Researcher Natalie Amodei Awarded Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid-of-Research

Congratulations to the Powers Lab’s own Natalie Amodei who was awarded a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid-of-Research for her proposal entitled “Can hummingbirds upregulate evaporative heat dissipation during hovering to compensate for loss of passive heat transfer at high temperatures?” Natalie will use the grant to help fund her research in Arizona this summer.

Natalie assembling an open-flow respirometry system.

Powers Lab Part of New Study on Hummingbird Hovering Allometry and Efficiency

Today the Royal Society Proceedings B published a study on hovering metabolic rate allometry and efficiency in hummingbirds that was done in collaboration with the Powers Lab. lead author on the study was Dr. Derrick Groom, who at the time was a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Welch. Full text of the paper can be found at:

Two New Undergraduate Researchers Join the Powers Lab!!

Two new undergraduate researchers, Natalie Amodei and Sarah Thompson, have joined the Powers Lab for the coming year. Both are funded by the George Fox University (GFU) Richter Scholar Program.

Natalie Amodei is a sophomore biology major from Corvallis, OR, and is also part of the GFU Honors Program. Her core project in the lab will be to continue experiments attempting to measure total evaporative heat dissipation during hovering in hummingbirds. Natalie will spend the balance of the Spring semester working out the kinks in her protocol before heading off to test it on calliope hummingbirds in Dr. Bret Tobalske’s lab at the University of Montana. After that Natalie will head to the Southwestern Research Station (SWRS) in the Chiricahua Mts of SE Arizona to collect data on blue-throated, Rivoli’s, and black-chinned hummingbirds.

Natalie Amodei

Sarah Thompson is a sophomore biology major from Ewa Beach, HI. Her core project will be a test of the long standing assumption that hummingbirds engage in hyperphagia just prior to roosting to fill their crop with nectar to fuel a portion of their nighttime metabolism. The idea that hummingbirds engage in hyperphagia was first proposed by the late Dr. Bill Calder in a 1990 study of broad-tailed hummingbirds. Sarah will spend the Spring semester developing her protocol which will involve directly weighing hummingbirds that come to feeders. In June Sarah will travel to SWRS to study mass management in both male and females of three hummingbirds at the research station. Welcome Sarah!!

Sarah Thompson