Leonard Lab

Sarah Saldanha

MSc candidate

sr926877 'at' dal.ca

I’ve always been interested in animal behaviour, but it was only after my first field experience working on the nesting habitat of barred owls and goshawks that I truly became interested in research. This experience led me to complete my BSc at McGill in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences with a specialization in Wildlife Biology in 2013. During my BSc I was lucky to gain additional experience working on the nesting behaviour and habitat selection of red-headed woodpeckers (a species at risk) and the effects of landscape features on wild bee diversity and pollination efficiency. Although these projects differed in many ways, they both had a strong focus on conservation, which greatly appealed to me. I believe there is a lot of value in wildlife research that can be directly applied to species protection and management.

In fall of 2013, I started my MSc in the Leonard lab working on the bank swallow, a species that has suffered from a 98% population decline in the last 40 years. Using a combination of automated and manual telemetry, I will characterize this species’ foraging and roosting habitat and study the effects of weather conditions, social organization and breeding biology on its habitat use. By using new technology to answer the old, previously unanswerable question, of what habitat these birds require to forage and roost, I hope to help guide future conservation management programs for this species.