Project Report

This research examined the nest site selection and the role of parasites/invertebrates in the Hair-Crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus). This species is one of the only known bird species that dismantles its own nest after the nesting period. The proposed theories to explain this behavior are that this reduces the competition for breeding sites as well as reduces the predation on nests. My research looked into what makes these nesting sites "competitive" by examining the habitat in which nesting took place. This research identified some key characteristics of nesting sites and habitat features that the birds selected for nesting by comparing used and unused sites. This research was also able to identify the presence of several parasite/invertebrate species in the nests of Hair-Crested Drongos, thus suggested another possibility as to why this species may exhibit such a behavior; suggesting that this species may dismantle the nest as a means of parasite control or possible food source. The results of this research have helped expand the knowledge about the evolutionary biology and life history of this species, and also the ecosystem in which it inhabits. New knowledge of such unique behaviors allows us to better understand the biological significance of this, as well as other similar behaviors, and their evolution history. This research has expanded the interdisciplinary knowledge base for ornithologists, ecologists, entomologists, foresters, land managers, and the Chinese departments that oversee these National Nature Reserves. This reserve, like many others in China, is employed with local people. Conducting research in this area has helped bring a scientific awareness to the local community while also helping them economically. This research was an effort contributing to on-going research on this species between Alabama A&M University, which is an Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the country where opportunities of international education and research are very limited due to inadequate resources and other limiting factors, and Beijing Normal University, which is one of the leading universities for ecological research in China. This was an opportunity for me to bring my knowledge and experience to China and exchange this with researchers from China, which helped not only to strengthen the relationship between the two involved Universities, but also to bridge the gap of friendship between the two countries. This project has opened up more opportunities which has allowed, and will continue to do, researchers of many different ethnic backgrounds and cultures to be able to learn from each other by sharing their knowledge and ideas. The project and EAPSI experience also have strengthened the scientific communities of both universities by being able to work with one another towards a common goal. Overall, for me, the NSF EAPSI program has given me the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge in my field of research, while being able to learn the international perspectives of China. This has helped me better understand the issues and approaches about international collaboration given the different cultural, social, and political issues. From this I have made several new friends and colleagues in China, in which I can develop future collaboration and further the exchange of knowledge.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)
Application #
1106653
Program Officer
Carter Kimsey
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-06-01
Budget End
2012-05-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$5,700
Indirect Cost
Name
Cantrell Andrew W
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Huntsville
State
AL
Country
United States
Zip Code
35801