Darcy Chang ’23
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Climate Change, Plant-Pollinator Interactions and Hummingbird Color Vision in the Rocky Mountains
I studied hummingbird foraging behavior at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. I worked placing time-lapse cameras near flowers pollinated by broad-tailed hummingbirds so the research team could quantify visitation rates for different flower species. This long-term project in the Stoddard Lab will elucidate the foraging decisions of broad-tailed hummingbirds, which could be useful in predicting how these key pollinators will respond as climate change initiates misalignments in phenology, or the seasonal timing of biological events. I also helped use a spectrophotometer to measure the reflectance spectra of flower species in the study site, both those visited by hummingbirds and those pollinated by other mechanisms. Similarly, we used an ultraviolet-sensitive camera to photograph these flowers in visible and ultraviolet light. Both projects add to our understanding of how hummingbirds perceive potential food sources and how they choose flowers to visit. Overall, my experience taught me a lot about hummingbird behavior and visual systems, and it invigorated my interest in ecology. I also refined my observational and problem-solving skills, gained experience in working with field equipment, and improved my ability to design methodologies.
* This internship is connected to the HMEI Climate and Energy Challenge project, “Investigating the Effects of Climate Change on Hummingbird Sensory Landscapes.”
Biodiversity and Conservation
Stoddard Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University- Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gothic, Colorado
Mary Caswell Stoddard, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology