Beth is working to quantify the risks to northern bobwhite (Colinis virginianus) from neonicotinoid insecticides. The bobwhite is an indicator species of successional stage habitat and has experienced population declines within the last 30 years. Within the South Texas Plains Ecoregion bobwhites inhabit areas around active agricultural fields where neonicotinoid insecticides are applied. She will quantify the risk that the continued use of neonicotinoid insecticides at its current quantity has on bobwhites in the South Texas Plains Ecoregion. She will use available data to estimate the current quantity of insecticides applied, the concentration of insecticides within the media, and create ingestion and dermal exposure models. She will examine toxicological data for the bobwhite and neonicotinoid insecticides. She will incorporate population modeling to examine direct (contaminated media) and indirect effects (reduction in insect prey base) of insecticides on the bobwhite at the population level. She will discuss strategies to manage and mitigate for the risk that neonicotinoid insecticides pose to bobwhites.
Chelsea’s research is on the status and trends of persistent organic pollutants in eggs of aplomado falcons from south Texas. Chelsea is working to understand the current impacts of persistent organic pollutants on the Northern Aplomado Falcon. The Aplomado Falcon was once common in the American southwest, but declined to extinction from the U.S. in the mid-1900s due to pesticide use and habitat loss. Organochlorine pesticide use has been associated with eggshell thinning and subsequent declines in bird populations, and other contaminants have led to malignant effects that inhibit successful population maintenance or growth. With addled eggs collected from south Texas from over the past decade, she will measure eggshell thickness and contaminant loads to compare from earlier years to now, in order to better understand the current status of this iconic bird.