Dr. Forsman writes:
As a Floridian, it is likely that you have had the chance to enjoy the friendly chatterings of purple martins. Perhaps you may even be, or know someone who is, a purple martin landlord, providing safe and dependable housing for these swallows. Purple martins breed across much of the United States, including Florida, and then migrate southward to winter in South America. As of spring 2020, UCF has become a hotspot for seeing nesting purple martins in action! With the help of enthusiastic UCF students, Dr. Anna Forsman of UCF Biology, has established the UCF Purple Martin Project, which supplies over 140 nesting gourds for these fascinating birds. During this seminar, Dr. Forsman will talk about the history of the special relationship that purple martins have developed with humans in North America and how scientists and citizens continue to interact with these birds to promote their conservation and greater understanding of their biology and ecology. Dr. Forsman will also talk about how her lab is using genomic techniques (and bird poop) to figure out what types of insects the martins are eating and to characterize the microbial communities living in the guts of these swallows. Join us for Purple Martin Time!
Dr. Anna Forsman is a research scientist in the Department of Biology and the Genomics & Bioinformatics Cluster at UCF. Prior to joining UCF in 2016, Dr. Forsman completed her Ph.D. work in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Lab or Ornithology at Cornell University. Dr. Forsman is broadly interested in the relationships between wild birds and the microorganisms that live in, on, and around them (ex. the gut microbiome). She is particularly interested in how bacterial communities in the environment interact with the avian immune system and how these interactions influence immune system development and function and overall bird health. At UCF, Dr. Forsman teaches courses in ornithology and genomics.