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Lohr's Lab Awarded Grant to Rescue Florida Sparrows

Saving the Sparrows from Extinction!

October 30, 2013 3:53 PM

The United States
Fish and Wildlife Services has recently showed ongoing support to Dr. Bernard
Lohr for the development of behavioral methodologies for saving the Florida
Grasshopper Sparrow from extinction. The support comes in the form of a grant
awarded to Lohr’s lab to facilitate the investigation of breeding a local close
relative of the Florida sparrows in captivity in the hope that they will
produce viable offspring that can eventually be re-introduced into the wild.
Currently there are fewer than 200 Grasshopper Sparrows left in their Florida
habitat, categorizing them as “critically endangered.” Graduate students, Sarah
Luttrell and Archer Larned, are working alongside Lohr both in the lab and in
the field to discover the optimal conditions under which the sparrows breed and
rear their offspring. Results from the studies conducted in Lohr’s lab will be
conveyed to scientists in Florida to assist with ongoing conservation efforts
there. Lohr’s interest in auditory sensory ecology originally sparked his
curiosity about the Florida Sparrow seeing as they are one of the few breeds of
small song birds that can hear at high pitched frequencies. “It turns out it’s
one of those things where the answers you get raise more questions, and more
questions, that turn out to be fascinating in and off themselves,” said Lohr of
his work with the birds. The dedication of over 20 years of his life to working
with birds has not only led Lohr to being on the path to bringing back a vital
species from near extinction, but has also granted him the honor of being made
an elective member of the American Ornithologist’s Union.

By: Caitlin

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