Jessie L. Williamson

jessie-williamsonI am a PhD student in the Witt Lab, Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico, where I study Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas) seasonal migration and adaptation to high altitude in the Peruvian and Chilean Andes. I earned my B.A. in Biology (foci in ecology and conservation) from Middlebury College in 2012, where I solidified my interests in the ecology, evolution, behavior, natural history, and conservation of birds. I have been engaged in research in the tropics since 2008 when I volunteered on a conservation project for Blue-throated Macaws (Ara glaucocularis) in Bolivia. Since then I have contributed to reproductive biology and conservation research for psittacines, passerines, and water birds in Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and the United States.

As a 2014-2015 Fulbright Fellow in Ecuador, I studied breeding biology and artificial nest box use by Golden-plumed Parakeets (Leptosittaca branickii), and supervised pilot research on demography, movement, and behavior of the endemic Andean Ibis (Theristicus branickii). Both branickii birds are of conservation concern, yet we lack crucial pieces of information about their ecology and natural history. I hope that results and forthcoming publications from these projects will be used to inform land management decisions in areas where these species are found in Ecuador.