Tropical Avian Ecology (Gallardo)

Julio Gallardo, Ph.D. candidate

Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Mississippi State University
USGS Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Phone: (662) 341-6617  Email:


Course Description

This course will start with a gentle introduction to the ecology of tropical birds and their habitats. We will then analyze fundamental concepts of evolution and ecology and discuss bird conservation issues. The main purpose of the course is to provide students with a relevant background in ecology, biogeography, and evolution to build an understanding of natural history as it links to social issues and bird conservation in the tropical Americas. We will be discussing ecological constraints that shape bird diversity in terms of behavioral adaptations, habitats, sexual selection and the evolution of tropical birds. The course will be composed of lectures and critiques of research articles aiming to foster class discussions in which students will help each other breakdown arguments into their various components to question and evaluate them. We will also spend a good amount of time outdoors watching birds, linking class with field observations. Through the length of the course, we will nurse the value of educated observations in ecology to identify patterns, ask questions, and find creative answers to practical problems. Students will learn the principles of bird study design and the basic use of analytical tools to address a research question and conservation needs. The course includes a practical component, where students will design and implement field projects individually and in small groups.



Lectures will comprise a summary of several relevant books supported by new findings of relevant scientific articles. The lectures will be primarily based on selected chapters of:

Bridget J.M. Stutchbury and Eugene S. Morton. 2001. Behavioral Ecology of Tropical Birds. Academic Press, London, UK.

Gill, F. 2007. Ornithology. Third Edition. W.H Freeman and Company, New York, NY.

Newton, I. 2013. Bird populations. Harper Collins Publishers, London, UK.

Newton, I. 2003. The Speciation and biogeography or birds. Academic Press, London, UK.

Cody, M.L. (Ed). 1985. Habitat selection in birds. Academic Press, New York, NY.