Four UMBC undergraduates in Kevin Omland’s biological sciences lab have won Youth Activity Fund Grants from the Explorers Club to support team-based field research on the critically endangered, and largely unstudied, Bahama oriole (Icterus northropi). This species only lives on the remote Andros Island in the Bahamas.
The Omland lab is internationally known for expertise on oriole genetics and evolution. A major goal of this new research project is to increase awareness of the rare Bahama oriole and promote conservation of endangered wildlife in the Caribbean broadly. Omland’s hope is to not only help the bird population, but also to support sustainable economic development for the island’s residents.
The project is multifaceted, and the four grant winners reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the research. They include Alexis Scarselletta ’16 and Michael Rowley ’18, biological sciences; Jennifer Christhilf ’18, geography and environmental systems; and Daniel Stonko ’16, chemistry and biochemistry.