Fellow Spotlight: Amber Wendler

October 26, 2021

Amber is a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech co-advised by GCC Affiliates Professor Ignacio Moore and Professor Jeffrey Walters. She is also an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Amber received her Bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston University in 2018. From Arctic Terns in Alaska to conch and parrotfishes in Belize, her extensive research background has taken her across the globe.

After exploring many aspects of biology, Amber is most interested in understanding how a bird’s environment affects their behavior, specifically in the tropics. Her current research investigates differences in breeding behavior between Puerto Rican Tody populations in rainforest and dry forest environments.

In addition to research, Amber is passionate about making STEM and the outdoors more inclusive. Amber is one of the organizers of #BlackBirdersWeek, a social media movement that took place May 30 to June 5 of this year.

Since the social movement kicked off, #BlackBirdersWeek has received extensive media coverage — as has Wendler. “I’ve been mentioned in a few news articles and featured in an article by Backpacker Magazine,” said Wendler.

Wendler has also appeared in an Earth Touch News Network story, a story in Chicago’s WTTW News, a post on Integrative and Comparative Biology (a blog affiliated with the Journal of Integrative and Comparative Biology), a Cornell Lab eNews story, and others

At Boston University, Amber conducted research at Calabash Caye Field Station in Belize and on NOAA research vessel Auk in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) off the coast of Massachusetts.
Amber with a Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus).
Amber monitoring Arctic Tern colonies with the U.S. Forest Service in Tongass National Forest, AK.
Over the course of a week, Amber banded about 50 birds at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory in Hilton, NY.
Amber featured in Backpacker Magazine.

Amber is excited to be a part of the Interfaces of Global Change program, which gives her the opportunity to engage in science communication and interdisciplinary research. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, kayaking, and birdwatching.

Learn more about Amber’s research and DEI projects here.

All photos sourced from Amber Wendler.

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