David, as a student at Cony High School in Augusta, Maine, wasn’t certain about attending the University of Maine until he looked at all it has to offer. And it wasn’t long before he became comfortable in several “communities” – the School of Biology and Ecology (which he describes as “awesome”), various research labs, and the Honors College. He has had some unique and powerful research experiences. Presently, he is working with Dr. Rebecca Holberton investigating songbird migration. They are able to track which species of birds are using the Gulf of Maine as a migration route by recording and analyzing their calls. The project aims to develop an understanding of the numbers and types of birds moving through the area. This data could be used to examine the effects of wind turbines on migrant behavior. David’s role has been to use acoustic measurements to identify specific species by their unique “signature” call. Given his experience, David feels he can reliably identify close to 30 different species!
How did you get started with UG research?
Initially, David volunteered on a research project being conducted by Jennifer McCabe, a graduate student of Dr. Brian Olsen. That experience along with the opportunity to take a class from Dr. Holberton, led him to ask for the chance to assist in her research. He has been able to secure work study funds to support his efforts, and his work has expanded to another lab in Biology, assisting a graduate student (Matthew Jones) working with Dr. Frank Drummond examining seed predation in local farm systems.
- What advice do you have for other UG students considering working on research?
“Just ask. There are so many professors willing to give students an opportunity.” Reflecting on his time at UMaine, David says, “I love it here!”
David Bridges, Class of 2013, is a biology major and in the Honors College. While he doesn’t yet have plans for after graduation, he is thinking about pursuing a graduate degree in animal behavior.