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Birds in the Mojave Research Position

by Maya J. Sze on September 10, 2021

Recent research has shown that bird communities in the Mojave desert are collapsing due to climate change. Desert birds live close to their thermal limits even under normal conditions, and as the climate warms we’ve seen a marked decline among the species that normally live there. Birds, however, are highly mobile. There is a distinct possibility that instead of dying due to increasingly extreme heat conditions, desert birds may be instead moving out of the Mojave into the surrounding biomes (which if true could impact those regions in unforeseen ways as well). In this project, you will test whether Mojave birds are actually moving out of the desert into the surrounding ecosystems, if the species decline hypothesis is more accurate, or if there may be some combination of both. We are looking for someone to work with a grad student in Biology to use GIS and data gathered from bird banding stations (where birds are captured, tagged, and released) across the midwest and west coast over decades, as well as eBird and Breeding Bird Survey data to look for specific shifts in geographic distributions.

To learn more and apply, email

Michael Reed, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Tufts University

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