Alice Egar, ’21, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Certificate(s): Language and Culture

I studied broad-tailed hummingbird pollination behavior to determine how climate change alters plant-pollinator interactions over time,
as well as how the birds’ perception of color influences their feeding behavior. I set camera traps at various flower species as part of a study to quantify hummingbird visitation frequency and how variations in the timing of flower bloom affect behavior. I used spectrophotometry and refractometry to collect data on flower color and nectar content at different stages in several plants’ flowering periods to identify possible visual cues that guide birds to feed. I also helped conduct an experiment in which I observed bird behavior at an array of flowers as nectar content was artificially manipulated. I learned all about hummingbird behavior, the science of plant-pollinator interactions, and how ecosystems can be altered when climate change creates mismatches in the timing of natural events. I gained amazing fieldwork experience and had the chance to participate in a thriving scientific community at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), which provided me with insight into graduate school and careers in ecology. I would love to return to RMBL to conduct more independent research!

* This internship is connected to the PEI Climate and Energy Grand Challenges project, “Investigating the Effects of Climate Change on Pollinator-Plant Dynamics in the Rocky Mountains.”