Matt Aberle is a PhD student in Dr. Dana Hawley’s lab and joined in the fall of 2015 in order to study animal behavior and disease ecology.
Matt received his B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014, graduating with cum laude honors. He spent two years working with Dr. Rebecca Safran researching barn swallows in order to better understand patterns of speciation and avian behavior. During this time Matt completed an undergraduate thesis looking at the relationship between nest ectoparasites and parental feeding rates. He was able to find that ectoparasites indeed have an impact on feeding rates and that males and females respond differently when ectoparasites are present in the nest. He hopes to get this work published in The Journal of Animal Behavior. Matt plans to continue studying how pathogens may or may not impact avian host behavior.
Matt also spent the summer of 2014 in Pinedale, WY as a field technician working on a project studying the impacts of fracking on several species of sagebrush nesting birds. He spent several months finding and monitoring bird nests in areas near fracking sites and kept track of the fate of each nest and its nestlings. Because of this work, Matt also hopes to incorporate conservation into his future research.
As global issues like climate change worsen and demand action, it is more important than ever to find solutions to these problems and communicate with the public. Through the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP, Matt hopes to get involved in helping solve some of these global threats and also to help make the general public become more science literate.