Friday, December 29, 2017

New EBL Paper!

Check out the latest EBL publication concerning seed dispersal as both a cultural and supporting ecosystem service.

Figure 1. Conceptual diagram demonstrating the links between the bird-chili mutualism, its disruption, and the loss of ecosystem services. On the Mariana Islands, forest birds have been functionally extirpated from Guam, but not Rota, Tinian or Saipan. Relative to islands with seed dispersers, the loss of animal-mediated seed dispersal may reduce germination by affecting the spatial distribution of seeds and their condition. The resulting reduction of recruitment could reduce chili populations that are economically and culturally important for people. Photos courtesy M Egerer.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Marianas Terrestrial Conservation Conference

The Ecology of Bird Loss project is helping to organize the first annual Marianas Terrestrial Conservation Conference & Workshop at Guam Community College on November 17 & 18th, 2017. Check out the website for more details!

Fruit Bat postdoc position

We are hiring a postdoc to study fruit bat ecology! Check out the "Jobs" page to learn more. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

New EBL paper

Check out the latest EBL publication on mutualisms and coextinctions with data from the Marianas. Big congrats to EBL postdoc and lead author Evan Fricke!

The positive relationship between partner diversity and mutualistic dependence reduces coextinction and alters the influence of network structure and partner diversity on coextinction. (a) The portion of species experiencing coextinction in simulations within 11 quantitative networks when assuming all species are obligate mutualists (triangles; horizontal line in inset panel) or using the observed relationship (circles; positive relationship in inset panel). Compare between randomized and empirical structure to assess the decrease in coextinction due to empirical network structure when assuming all species are obligate mutualists (compare triangles between randomized and empirical structure) or when using the observed relationship (compare circles). Simulated within the 11 empirical networks, the relationship between partner diversity and vulnerability to coextinction when assuming that all species are obligate mutualists (b) or when using the observed relationship (c).

Saturday, April 1, 2017

RET Opportunity

Attention K-12 teachers in the CNMI:
Ecology of Bird Loss Project, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

RETers Val Atalic (Rota, 2013) and
Annette Pladavega (Saipan, 2011) at Forbidden Island
Description of the RET program: The goal of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program is to enhance the professional development of K-12 science educators through research experience with the end goal of bringing new knowledge into the classroom. This summer Iowa State University/University of Guam’s Ecology of Bird Loss project will sponsor two Marianas-based teachers to participate in ecological research for 7 weeks. The teachers will experience scientific field research first-hand by working with project staff to collect scientific data and then develop lessons to enhance science learning in their classrooms.
Description of the project: The Ecology of Bird Loss project examines the effect that bird loss on the island of Guam has on forest ecosystems by comparing forests on Guam, where birds are functionally extinct due to predation by the invasive brown treesnake, to forests on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, where native bird populations are still intact. We are studying the ecology of the native limestone forests in the Mariana Islands with a particular focus on the role of birds and bats in dispersing seeds around the forest. For more information on the project, visit
Duties of the RET: Teachers will participate in field research on at least two islands (out of Guam, Saipan, and Rota), usually working as part of a small field crew. Specific duties may include: identifying trees (including seedlings), measuring and collecting data on plant seedlings, conducting visual observations of frugivory, among other activities. Teachers will work with EBL staff to develop lesson plans, curricular activities, and research experiments that they will be able to use in their classrooms. Teachers should expect to work about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week during the program.
Requirements and Qualifications: We can only take 2 teachers per year, one from Guam and one from the CNMI. The successful applicants must be a K-12 teacher in Guam or the CNMI who is interested in conducting hands-on ecological field research and taking their experiences from the program back into the classroom to enhance education in the Mariana Islands. Field research involves working in high heat and humidity, walking over rough terrain, and maintaining enthusiasm for a variety of different and occasionally tedious activities necessary for all scientific endeavors. Previous experience in ecology or field research is not required, but an excitement for learning new activities and an open mind towards challenging experiences is necessary. We will give priority to teachers with a long-term commitment to education in the Mariana Islands. Applicants must be US citizens with valid driver’s licenses. Each year we have run this program, there have been many qualified applicants; if you have applied before, but not been selected, please apply again!
Duration, Payments and Benefits: Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $1000 per week for 7 weeks between May and August 2017, and $1000 for one week during the school year to implement the curriculum. Each teacher will also have access to $1000 for curriculum supplies or to cover field trip costs during the school year. At least one roundtrip flight within the Mariana Islands will be provided, as well as housing and work-related transportation while off-island. Communication and collaboration between the teachers and the EBL project is expected to continue beyond the end of the summer.
For More Information: Please contact Haldre Rogers ( or any of our previous RET teachers if you have questions related to the program: Sabina Perez– Simon Sanchez HS Guam; Michael Subbert- formerly Guam HS; Mary Garvilles- Tiyan HS, Guam and Annette Pladavega- Kagman HS Saipan; Dan Ho- formerly Southern HS Guam; Valerie Atalig- formerly Rota Junior Senior HS, currently Rota Chamber of Commerce; Greg Ecle – Southern HS Guam; Ben Seman – Hopwood Jr HS Saipan; Roque Indalecio- Hopwood Jr. HS Saipan, and Daniel Pangelinan- Okkodo HS Guam.
To Apply: Candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to The cover letter should include a paragraph explaining how the applicant hopes to use the RET program to enhance learning in their classroom. Applicants should indicate preferred start and end dates in the cover letter. Applications must be received by April 8th. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Kloe Borja wins 1st place in the Island-wide STEM Fair!

Photo by Amanda Santos
EBL's 2016 Step-Up student,  Kloe Borja won first place at the CMNI Island-wide STEM Fair this weekend. She conducted her project on avian gut passage times to predict which bird species would best disperse seeds into degraded forest if reintroduced to Guam.

For her next step, Kloe will be one of approximately 1,800 high school students from around the world to compete in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May. 

Check out the article about Kloe in  the Saipan Tribune here:

Strong work, Kloe!!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

New paper out today!

This study has been long in the making, but is finally here! We describe the impact of frugivorous bird loss on seed dispersal and recruitment in two forest tree species. This is my favorite figure from the paper, thanks to collaborator, Eric Buhle.
Figure 3 | Dispersal across the landscape. Seed dispersal kernels of (a) Psychotria and (b) Premna on Guam as compared with three nearby islands where forest birds are present. The fitted kernel models were used to predict seed rain in a hypothetical forest plot. Panels c,d depict seed rain in forests with frugivores, and panes e,f depict seed rain in forests without frugivores. Shading indicates the mean seed density (seeds m - 2, note logarithmic scale) arriving at each location on the forest floor. Circles indicate crowns of conspecific adult trees.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ep. 96 - Guam's Changing Forests

Check it out! Haldre Rogers talks about seed dispersal, predator interactions, and the work that EBL does on the In Defense of Plants podcast

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Flashback to Summer 2016, gut passage experiment

Here are three of our biologists (Kloe Borja- Kagman High School, Amanda Santos - Oregon State University, and Joma Santos - University of Guam) from this summer working on sorting seeds from our gut passage experiments with captive forest birds. We fed seeds of over 20 tree species to captive Mariana fruit doves, white-throated ground doves, Micronesian starlings, bridled white-eyes, and golden white-eyes to see how gut passage affects germination.