Dr. Sarah Guindre-Parker - Assistant Professor
I am an integrative behavioral ecologist interested in how animals cope with unpredictable environmental conditions. My research integrates across evolution, behavioral ecology and endocrinology to understand how birds and mammals facing unpredictable environmental conditions are adapted to survive and reproduce in these habitats. I am particularly interested in how environmental unpredictability alters microevolution across natural populations.
At KSU, I have taught the following undergraduate courses: Ecology Lab (BIOL 3370L), Seminar (BIOL 4399), Vertebrate Zoology (BIOL 3315K), and Directed Methods (BIOL 3110L). I have also taught grad courses in Avian Physiology and SciComm.
I’m a proud Canadian from British Columbia. I have a BSc from Simon Fraser University, a MSc from the University of Windsor and a PhD from Columbia University. Prior to joining Kennesaw State University's Department of Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology in 2019, I was a postdoc at the Universities of Guelph and Michigan. When I'm not in the lab or in the field, I love to cook, do yoga, and spend time with my family.
2023 - present
"I received my B.S. in Zoology and Wildlife Biology from Malone University and a M.S. at Eastern Kentucky University studying Loggerhead Shrike Vocalizations. While at EKU, I co-led a seasonal banding station, a position that eventually led to my joining the Ecology of Bird Loss Project in Guam. From 2019-2022, I monitored the remaining population of Micronesian Starlings (Såli) on Guam and worked to understand the impact of invasive Brown Treesnake predation on fledgling survival rates.
Most recently, I have been part of a team of biologists from USDA/RCUOG working to control Brown Treesnake populations. With my addition to this team, we were able to bring multiple species of birds to Guam as lures to better attract snakes and help preserve the avian species still remaining on the island. While I have loved the island life and will miss my daily swims with sea turtles, I am excited to explore the wildlife that Georgia has to offer!"
2023 - present
Arianna worked in the lab during her undergraduate degree at KSU and returned as a summer field assistant after graduation. She conducts field work on free-living starlings to understand the impacts of urbanization on behavior and physiology of these birds. She also participated in an NSF REU in Montana while completing her degree.
"I'm a sophomore at KSU majoring in Environmental Science. I'm especially interested in birds, and how their behaviors differ across different biomes and environments. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school. In my free time, I like to read, draw, and help take care of my family's chickens."
Amberlee has worked on everything! From our window collision project, to performing differential white blood cell counts, to independent research and starling field work. Thanks Amberlee!
Fledged Graduate Lab Members
2020 - 2022
Denyelle's research interests center on behavioral ecology and how species adapt to anthropogenic challenges via altered reproductive behavior. Her thesis was titled: "Sex ratios in the city: is parental corticosterone a mediator of the relationship between urbanization and offspring sex allocation?"
Denyelle went on to pursue a PhD at Tufts University with Dr. Michael Romero.
2020 - 2022
Courtney's research interests include behavioral ecology, evolution and endocrinology to understand how birds that are considered generalists adapt and survive in a variety of different habitats. Her thesis was titled: "Physiological costs of total cholesterol in European starlings across an urban to rural gradient".
Courtney went on to work in environmental consulting.
2021 - 2023
Joanna's research examined the microevolution of animal populations as they adapt to novel environments. Her thesis was titled: "Testing the urban dulling hypothesis in an iridescent passerine bird".
Joanna went on to pursue a PhD at the University of Kansas with Dr. Town Peterson
2021 - 2023, NSF GRFP Fellow
Rachel was interested the mechanisms by which phenotypic plasticity and/or microevolution may allow birds (at the individual, population, or species level) to adapt to unpredictable environmental fluctuations and novel environments. Her thesis was titled: "Comparing four indices of physiological stress in an urban-adapted songbird between urban and rural habitats"
Rachel when on to pursue a PhD at the University of Rhode Island with Dr. Scott McWilliams
2021 - 2023
Michelle's interests include behavioral ecology, evolution, and the effects of global climate change on organisms. Her thesis was titled: "The city blues of an iridescent canary: physiological, behavior and developmental impacts of lead on songbirds along an urban to rural gradient"
Michelle went on to pursue a PhD at Brock University with Dr. Kiyoko Gotanda
Fledged Undergraduate Lab Members
Fall 2019: Lilly completed a literature review on hormone challenges to study how animals respond to stressors as part of a Directed Methods course.
Fall 2019: Mackenzie worked on a protocol to perform open field behavioural tests in free-living birds.
Spring 2020: Tiffany studied how glucocorticoids respond to changes in social groups through a Directed Methods course. She presented her research proposal at KSU's Symposium of Student Scholars.
2020-2021: Shelby studied starling provisioning behavior and nestling growth rates and joined our starling field crew. She completed a Directed Methods course and was supported by a Mentor-Protege Award. She presented her research at KSU's Symposium of Student Scholars and at the Animal Behavior Society conference.
2021: Jamie investigated flight initiation distance in wild birds across a gradient of urbanization. She completed a directed methods course and presented her workout KSU's Symposium of Student Scholars.
2020-2022: Lauren studied the impacts of social changes on bonobo cortisol. She presented her work at the SICB annual meeting in January 2021 and ABS in July 2021. She received an NSF GRFP for her graduate school plans!
Spring 2020: Leanne was part of our first field crew, checking nest boxes across three field sites through a Directed Methods course.
2019-2020: Kaitlyn studied parental investment in egg size and incubation behavior along an urban-to-rural gradient. She completed two Directed Methods courses and presented her findings at the Animal Behavior Society conference.
2019-2021: Jasmine studied behavioral plasticity in cooperative superb starlings. She presented her research at KSU's Symposium of Student Scholars and at the Animal Behavior Society conference. She is first author on a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
2020-2021: Rebecca explored how parental provisioning rates influence feather growth bars in nestling European starlings. She presented her research at KSU's Symposium of Student Scholars and at the Animal Behavior Society conference
2021-2023: Aisha worked with graduate student Joanna to measure feather reflectance in starlings across different habitats.
2021-2023: Cole investigated how insect availability changed across urban to rural environments to understand how starling parents may need to adjust their foraging strategies across habitats. He received offers for the Birla Carbon Award (declined) and the Undergraduate Summer Research Program in 2022.
Fall 2019: Adelaide studied habitat and nest box preferences in European starlings.
Spring 2020: Haley was part of our first field crew, checking nest boxes across three field sites through a Directed Methods course.
2020-2021: Emma studied synchrony in the timing of breeding in European starlings across North America. She completed a Directed Methods course and was supported by a Mentor-Protege Award. She also won third place at the Symposium of Student Scholars for her presentation on her research.
2021: Blair was part of our summer field team, assisting with checking nests boxes, sampling nestlings, and trapping adults as a Stamps Scholar from the U. of South Carolina.
2021-2022: Julie explored how starlings alter their habitat use across seasons and according to rainfall as a Birla Carbon Scholar. She presented at multiple conferences and was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in 2022 for the BS in Environmental Sciences.