Luke L. Powell

Luke L. Powell
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources | CIBIO · TROPIBIO

Ph.D

About

55
Publications
18,987
Reads
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776
Citations
Introduction
I'm a Curie Research Fellow with the University of Glasgow. My work mostly focuses on conservation ecology of insectivorous birds in tropical rainforests, but more recently, I've become interested in bats and biodiversity Central African cacao using diet metabarcoding.
Additional affiliations
October 2013 - present
Smithsonian Institution
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2013 - present
Smithsonian Institution
Position
  • PostDoc Position
June 2009 - October 2011
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
January 2009 - September 2013
Louisiana State University
Field of study
  • Wildlife Ecology
September 2005 - May 2008
University of Maine
Field of study
  • Ecology and Environmental Science
September 1999 - May 2003
Tufts University
Field of study

Publications

Publications (55)
Article
Full-text available
Amazonia now contains vast areas of secondary forest because of widespread regeneration following timber harvests, yet the value of secondary forest to wildlife remains poorly understood. Secondary forest becomes structurally similar to primary forest after abandonment, and therefore we predicted that avian movement across the interface of primary...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Every autumn, billions of migratory songbirds depart North America for the Neotropics, where they spend ~7 months wintering alongside ecologically similar year-round residents. In the Caribbean, the winter influx of migrants coincides with low arthropod abundances, and food shortages limit wintering songbird population...
Article
Full-text available
Animals are subject to ecological traps when anthropogenic changes create habitat that appears suitable but when selected results in decreased fitness. The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) breeds in boreal wetlands and has declined by 85–95% over the last half century. We studied nest-site selection and daily nest-survival rate (DSR) of 43 Rust...
Article
Full-text available
We calculated the home ranges and core areas of 13 adult Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus) in Maine to determine (1) the area requirements of breeding adults, (2) whether area requirements of the sexes and of colonial and noncolonial individuals differ, and (3) the proportion of the home range and core area that would be protected by a buffer o...
Article
Soils from 18 parrot collpas (‘clay licks’) in southeastern Peru averaged four times more available sodium than uneaten control soils. Collpa soils contained marginally more clay than control sites and clay content was uncorrelated with available sodium content. Parrots may select and ingest soils based on available sodium content. Suelos de 18 col...
Article
Full-text available
Abundance estimation methods that combine several types of data are becoming increasingly common because they yield more accurate and precise parameter estimates and predictions than are possible from a single data source. These beneficial effects result from increasing sample size (through data pooling) and complementarity between different data t...
Article
Woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae) represent a remarkably uniform group of brownish birds that move by hitching up tree trunks as they forage for arthropod prey. Despite these superficial similarities, we were able to uniquely differentiate the niches of all 13 species north of Manaus by integrating morphological traits (e.g., mass and bill size) with...
Article
Full-text available
Functional traits offer a rich quantitative framework for developing and testing theories in evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystem science. However, the potential of functional traits to drive theoretical advances and refine models of global change can only be fully realised when species-level information is complete. Here we present the AVON...
Article
Full-text available
The cover image is based on the Letter AVONET: morphological, ecological and geographical data for all birds by Tobias et al., https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13898. The sword‐billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) is exquisitely adapted to its trophic niche as an aerial pollinator of flowerings plants (angiosperms) in the high Andes. A new global data...
Article
Identifying the composition of avian diets is a critical step in characterizing the roles of birds within ecosystems. However, because birds are a diverse taxonomic group with equally diverse dietary habits, gaining an accurate and thorough understanding of avian diet can be difficult. In addition to overcoming the inherent difficulties of studying...
Article
Full-text available
Warming from climate change is expected to reduce body size of endotherms, but studies from temperate sys­tems have produced equivocal results. Over four decades, we collected morphometric data on a nonmigratory understory bird community within Amazonian primary rainforest that is experiencing increasingly extreme climate. All 77 species showed low...
Article
The use of mist nets is the most widespread technique to capture bats; however, no study has compared if the type of ground-level mist net used during sampling affects bat captures. We sampled bats using three different types of mist nets that varied in mesh (16, 18, and 20 mm) and denier/ply (45/1 and 75/2) sizes over 76 half-night surveys. We use...
Article
Understanding interactive effects between anthropogenic disturbance and abiotic factors on species turnover can help to identify and prioritize conservation of potentially vulnerable tropical bird communities. We investigated the potential factors influencing avian understory community composition along with a recently constructed road across three...
Article
We thank Kristen Rosamond, Julie Nguyen, and Molly Fava for their assistance sorting and identifying prey from Jamaican wet‐limestone forest stomach samples. Nathan Cooper helped with the Louisiana fieldwork. We thank the many other field assistants, too many to name individually here, who made this research possible. We thank the Williams Family,...
Article
Understanding spatial and temporal movement patterns of migratory birds throughout the annual cycle can help identify potential population threats. The behavior and habitat use of birds during migration and stopover periods is particularly understudied in many species. In this study, we used high spatial resolution archival GPS tags to track Rusty...
Article
Full-text available
Forests are being converted to agriculture throughout the Afrotropics, driving declines in sensitive rainforest taxa such as understory birds. The ongoing expansion of cocoa agriculture, a common small‐scale farming commodity, has contributed to the loss of eighty percent rainforest cover in some African countries. African cocoa farms may provide h...
Article
Full-text available
The slow-paced life history of many Neotropical birds (e.g., high survival and low fecundity) is hypothesized to increase lifetime fitness through investments in self-maintenance over reproduction relative to their temperate counterparts. Molt is a key investment in self-maintenance and is readily shaped by environmental conditions. As such, variat...
Article
Full-text available
en The size of the pectoral muscle is an important component of body condition in birds and has been linked to indices of fitness and migratory performance. Bauchinger et al. (2011. Journal of Ornithology 152: 507–514) developed, calibrated, and validated an aluminum “muscle meter” device that estimates the size of pectoral muscles noninvasively. T...
Article
Full-text available
The arrangement of habitat features via historical or contemporary events can strongly influence genomic and demographic connectivity, and in turn affect levels of genetic diversity and resilience of populations to environmental perturbation. The rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a forested wetland habitat specialist whose population size has...
Article
Full-text available
Wood Warblers, an Afro-Palearctic migrant species, are declining steadily in Europe likely due to mortality outside their breeding grounds. However, little is known about their overwintering, and records about the sensitive life-cycle stage of moult in Africa are practically absent. To fill this gap, we report on moult of Wood Warblers captured ove...
Article
Full-text available
Once exceptionally abundant, the Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) has declined precipitously over at least the last century. The species breeds across the Boreal forest, where it is so thinly distributed across such remote areas that it is extremely challenging to monitor or research, hindering informed conservation. As such, we employed a targ...
Article
Full-text available
How are rainforest birds faring in the Anthropocene? We use bird captures spanning > 35 years from 55 sites within a vast area of intact Amazonian rainforest to reveal reduced abundance of terrestrial and near‐ground insectivores in the absence of deforestation, edge effects or other direct anthropogenic landscape change. Because undisturbed forest...
Article
Full-text available
Chromatic disorders may disrupt adaptive coloration and reduce animals' capacity to survive and produce young. These disorders have been documented widely for bats across the globe. However, most of these cases are concentrated in regions with well-studied faunal communities, such as Europe or North and South America, with little documentation of c...
Article
Full-text available
The Arctic is entering a new ecological state, with alarming consequences for humanity. Animal-borne sensors offer a window into these changes. Although substantial animal tracking data from the Arctic and subarctic exist, most are difficult to discover and access. Here, we present the new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a growing collection...
Article
Full-text available
The Arctic is entering a new ecological state, with alarming consequences for humanity. Animal-borne sensors offer a window into these changes. Although substantial animal tracking data from the Arctic and subarctic exist, most are difficult to discover and access. Here, we present the new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a growing collection...
Article
The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a widespread, uncommon migrant that has experienced heavy population declines over the last century. This species can spend over a quarter of their annual cycle on migration, so it is important to determine their habitat requirements during stopover events to inform effective conservation planning. We ass...
Article
Full-text available
The contribution of interspecific competition to structuring population and community dynamics remains controversial and poorly tested. Specifically, interspecific competition has long been thought to influence the structure of migrant-resident bird communities in winter, yet experimental evidence remains elusive. The arrival of billions of songbir...
Article
Full-text available
Rusty blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus), once common across their boreal breeding distribution, have undergone steep, range-wide population declines. Newfoundland is home to what has been described as one of just two known subspecies (E. c. nigrans) and hosts some of the highest known densities of the species across its extensive breeding range. To c...
Article
Full-text available
Rapidly increasing urbanisation requires mitigation against associated losses of biodiversity and species abundance. In urban-breeding birds, altered food availability for nestlings is thought to reduce reproductive success compared to forest populations. To compensate for shortages of preferred foods, urban parents could increase their search effo...
Article
Full-text available
To achieve greater understanding of the full annual cycles of birds, it is critical to describe the spatial nature of little-understood phases. One of the least understood aspects of avian annual cycles is the ecology of molt: the periodic replacement of feathers. While work on the spatial nature of molt in migratory passerines has increasingly fou...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory birds spend most of their journeys at stopover sites where they rest and refuel. Many migrants are in steep decline, and understanding their behavior within and among migrations is crucial for developing effective conservation strategies across the full annual cycle. One of the most rapidly declining songbirds in North America is the Rust...
Article
Full-text available
Wild Amazonian parrots likely consume soil to supplement sodium-deficient diets. However, it remains uncertain whether parrots can detect sodium at the concentrations found in mineral licks. During 3–8 day trials, we presented 20 captive Hispaniolan Amazon Parrots (Amazona ventralis) two foods with experimentally manipulated sodium concentrations....
Article
Full-text available
In early 2016, we conducted bird surveys on the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. We found numerous taxa at different elevations and abundance from those previously reported. We recorded five species new for Bioko (African Jacana Actophilornis africanus, Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus, Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, Ethiopian Swallow H...
Article
Full-text available
Mainland Equatorial Guinea is undergoing rapid infrastructure development driven by the discovery of large oil reserves within the country’s maritime political boundaries. The country recently began implementing Horizonte 2020, a national development project that includes a vast highway network and creation of a new capital city. Road construction...
Article
Full-text available
During surveys of mainland Equatorial Guinea and Bioko in November 2013 and December 2014, 246 bird species were recorded, including six that were new for the country (Wahlberg’s Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi, Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide Melichneutes robustus, Yellow-throated Leaflove Atimastillas flavicollis, Ethiopian S...
Article
Full-text available
Avian diversity in fragmented Amazonian landscapes depends on a balance between extinction and colonization in cleared and disturbed areas. Regenerating forest facilitates bird dispersal within degraded Amazonian landscapes and may tip the balance in favor of persistence in habitat patches. Determining the response of Amazonian birds to fragmentati...
Article
Full-text available
Primary tropical rain forests are being rapidly perforated with new edges via roads, logging, and pastures, and vast areas of secondary forest accumulate following abandonment of agricultural lands. To determine how insectivorous Amazonian understory birds respond to edges between primary rain forest and three age classes of secondary forest, we ra...
Article
Full-text available
Insectivorous birds may adjust their foraging strategies to exploit changes in resource distributions. Arthropod prey strongly influence habitat-specific persistence of long-distance migrant passerines in their wintering areas, and arthropods are strongly affected by rainfall. However, the effect of drought on the dynamics of avian foraging ecology...
Article
Full-text available
The Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae) is one of Central America’s rarest and most endangered species. A regional endemic to Panama and Costa Rica, between 250 and 999 individuals appear to now survive mainly within Pacific coastal mangroves and adjacent lowland forest within the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands and the Osa Peninsula of C...
Article
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As anthropogenic change continues to fragment terrestrial habitats, conservation biologists are increasingly concerned with how wild animals move through fragmented landscapes. Experimental translocations have recently gained popularity as a technique to determine landscape permeability by wild animals in fragmented landscapes. In experimental tran...
Article
Full-text available
The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), an uncommon songbird often associated with northern coniferous wetlands, has experienced a precipitous population decline since at least the early 20th century. Here, we provide the first analysis of breeding-habitat occupancy at the wetland scale and make recommendations for streamlined monitoring. We mode...
Article
Full-text available
Resumen. – Notas sobre la distribucón, historia natural, y conservación de la Cotinga de Piquiamarillo (Carpodectes antoniae). – Hicimos un estudio a lo largo de la costa sur del Pacífico de Costa Rica y el oeste de Panamá para evaluar la distribución actual de la Cotinga Piquiamarillo (Carpo-dectes antoniae), una especie de ave poco conocida, en p...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), a formerly common breeding species of boreal wetlands, has exhibited the most marked decline of any North American landbird. North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) trends in abundance are estimated to be ‒12.5%/yr. over the last 40 years, which is tantamount to a >95% cumulative decline. Trends in abunda...
Article
Full-text available
Euphagus carolinus (Rusty Blackbird) has suffered a steep population decline over the past 40 years, yet we still understand little of the basic biology of the species, particularly its social organization. During the spring of 2007, we located a loose colony of Rusty Blackbirds breeding in Piscataquis County, ME. The core colony consisted of six n...
Article
Full-text available
Recent evidence suggests that mercury exposure has negative effects on the health of songbirds, and species that forage in wetlands may be at a greater risk of bioaccumulation of mercury than are those of other habitats. We examined mercury concentrations in blood and feathers from the wetland obligate and rapidly declining Rusty Blackbird (Euphagu...
Article
We calculated the home ranges and core areas of 13 adult Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus) in Maine to determine (1) the area requirements of breeding adults, (2) whether area requirements of the sexes and of colonial and noncolonial individuals differ, and (3) the proportion of the home range and core area that would be protected by a buffer o...
Article
The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a poorly understood wetland-breeding songbird that has experienced an 85–95% population decline since the mid 20th century. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that Rusty Blackbirds are “loosely colonial” and breed in bogs, fens, beaver-modified wetlands, and wooded swamps of the boreal forest. Ornitholo...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
This project aims to expand the research and innovation potential of CIBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, through the creation of an ERA Chair in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems Research (TROPIBIO). Taking advantage of historical and cultural links, the project is rooted on the network of TwinLabs established between CIBIO and institutions from Portuguese-speaking African countries, aiming to support research in biodiversity assessment, conservation and sustainable use, and ecosystem function and services, thereby contributing to achieve the Life on Land goal of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The project builds on human resources and lab facilities supported by previous FP7 CAPACITIES and H2020 WIDESPREAD projects, expanding their capacity to deal with complex research and innovation challenges linked to sustainable development in the tropics. To achieve its objectives, TROPIBIO will develop the following main activities: (i) Upgrade research capacity by expanding the human potential and fostering a critical mass of researchers with inter-disciplinary expertise in tropical biodiversity and ecosystems research; (ii) Consolidate the TwinLab network by strengthening internal communication, enhancing in situ technical and logistic conditions, and promoting collaborative research among institutions; (iii) Reinforce CIBIO’s network of international partnerships at the EU and global level; and (iv) Enhance long-term sustainability of tropical research at CIBIO by increasing innovation potential and impact, and thus the capacities to attract national and international funding. These activities will contribute to the advanced training of human resources, and to the communication, dissemination and exploitation of CIBIO’s research and innovation. Also, they will better integrate CIBIO with the European Research Area (ERA), and foster its participation in EUAfrica cooperation in science, technology and innovation. This project is funded by the European Commission, with an overall budget of 2.5 million euros (Grant Agreement number: 854248 — TROPIBIO — H2020-WIDESPREAD-2018-2020/H2020-WIDESPREAD-2018-04)
Project
This project will use bird and bat captures to understand the balance between biodiversity (bird and bat abundance/richness) and agricultural production (cocoa productivity, as mediated by ecosystem services provided by birds and bats). I work primarily in Cameroon.